When couples fight it usually boils down to two people arguing over who is right. This is as old as humans on the planet. People often disagree with another because all of us like to talk about our version of experiences or ideas and have them agreed with.
The very act of someone saying “you are right” feels great to the soul. Also, we pride ourselves on knowing what we know, and that’s pretty human too. All of us like how we think and we trust our thoughts.
This is really common about all humans. But when we are in a relationship with another person, this way of thinking can cause many, many problems.
Arguments Over Who Is Right Boil Down to Affirming Our Competence or World View
I am sure you have been in arguments with another person where you knew you were right and they were wrong. This could have surrounded a memory or a current situation. How you remember it is very clear to you. You know what you know. But your partner will not concede and say, “you are right”, you remember it better than me.
No, this never happens because in your partner’s mind he or she is just as firm and believing in his or her thoughts as much as you are. Everyone loves their own memory. No one believes their memory is not right, or the way they are thinking about something is not correct.
But these stances often lead to tough fights between people. We will go to the mat to prove we are right. We cannot let up until we prove what we believe and these positions often lead to bigger and bigger battles.
Being Wrong is Stressful
I am not here to talk you out of what you think. I know I love my thoughts too. I have had experiences where I will argue with my husband because he remembers something that he expresses and it contradicts what I am saying. This causes me great stress, as I believe what I am saying is right and I believe it with my entire being.
But after we had this latest skirmish we talked about the issue. I remembered people’s ages different than he remembered them. It was only a matter of one year different, but for me it just killed my story.
Even Seemingly Minor Corrections Can Derail Us
I was telling a memory to some people and I talked about some children who I believed were a certain age and he interrupted me to correct me on the age. His interruption threw me into a tizzy and I stopped telling the story and started arguing with him over this.
That’s what we talked about. I told him it was hard for me to be derailed like that. If he wants to correct me, can he wait until I am through with what I had to say? He understood what happened to me and realized how jarring it was to be cut off early and he said he wouldn’t do that again.
Understanding How Your Partner Feels About Their Thoughts Helps You Prevent Escalation
This made me feel better. I don’t want to argue with him about a trivial issue. But I don’t want to be shut down over it either. All of us will argue for how we believe. But if you live with someone, learn that they love their way of thinking and their ideas as much as you love yours.
This is not a comparison, but this understanding will allow both of you to thrive together, instead of fighting over details.
Arguing Over Who’s Right? Try This Instead
Read a Book About Relationships
If you’d like to focus less on who is right and ultimately fight less often, try reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you see the big picture and be more mindful of each other’s needs, helping reduce conflict in your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.