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White knuckling your “right” is far more damaging than surrendering to the possibility of being “wrong.”
I married a “right fighter.”
I found this infuriating—until I realized that 1. I am a mirror for everyone, and everything, that I attract into my life, 2. This was his way of filling a void of pain from his past (if he was “right,” then he found a false sense of control) and 3. Neither of us had to face the truth that we may have made some of our own devastating mistakes.
That first year of marriage, I think I stomped my feet more than I spoke.
I had met my match. We were madly in love, and this terrified us both.
He was fresh off of a divorce, and I came from years of violence and betrayal. Oh, what a great combination!
I would scream, “Why is it so important to be right instead of taking responsibility that you may be contributing to some of our issues?”
He would just give me this blank stare. Like it had never crossed his mind that he may be playing a role in our distress.
Out of habit, I would end up apologizing even if the fault was not all mine.
I didn’t want to lose this man.
He was good. He was kind. He was love.
Fighting wasn’t worth it, because I had fought my whole life.
I fought for my pride, my dignity, my freedom, my virtue, for the abused dog or child and for what I thought was the truth!
I wondered, could I be a “right fighter” too?
Fighting for my own rights—and the rights of victims that no longer had a voice—was a way of life for me.
In the end, according to both my husband’s and my own life experiences, we were both ”right,” were we not?
Is breaking a person’s spirit more important than the peace that being “wrong” may bring?
Our perceptions were created from our life experiences, which shaped our realities.
My beloved husband was standing up for what he knew—for how he was raised.
And, so was I.
So, was either one of us right or wrong?
Yes. No. Maybe?
This is when it struck us both, two years into our marriage: Being right or wrong is not worth losing each other.
We chose to grow up.
We figured out that it was more important how we made each other feel.
If I accused my husband or he accused me of being wrong, we both hurt.
This is when we decided that instead of being “right,” we would gift each other with respect.
We began honoring one another’s thoughts, ideas and opinions.
This is when we both shifted into our power.
We chose love.
In the end, it was really that simple.
10 years later we are still writing our love story.
Author: Sarah Norwood
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own // Carsten Tolkmit/Flickr