Is it Important to Be Right in Relationships?
Above all else, there is one factor that contributes to a relationship’s demise. It isn’t what any person thinks of when the divorce papers land in their lap. I am not talking about adultery, which is the most feared event to face a relationship. I am talking about the yearned desire to be right.
I raise this topic because it is something that confounds almost every relationship, and each partner feels that they have to be right or must “win” every argument. Let me be the first person to tell you that being right is one of the least important things in a relationship. It probably sounds ludicrous to hear that, but rest assured I will explain why.
At the heart of the drive to being right is the need to invalidate others. The greater the disparity between others’ arguments and our arguments, the more right we may appear to be. I have found that this drive leads to more arguments than any other factor, alone. Validation is a critical component to the success of a relationship, but most don’t understand it and fail to grasp why it is so vital.
I often explain validation to individuals under my guidance and explain the importance of it. In essence, validation is just acknowledging someone else’s words. What I hear more than anything else, in response, is that if they validate their partner, then they are giving support to their partner’s position. That means that individuals feel that if they don’t knock down their partner’s argument, then it stands at full impact. This just is not true.
My favorite analogy that I have came up with involves words, gift boxes, and a table. Imagine that you have an opinion. You place your opinion on the table, wrapped in that gift box. You allow others to open the box, and allow them to take the words, however they will. When the counterparty speaks, they do the same and give you the opportunity to open the gift box full of words.
When there is a strong desire to “be right”, either or both individuals will knock the counterparty’s box of words off the table, to be crushed under the weight of their feet. Being the person that had their box of words crushed is an awful feeling. When it happens often enough, this person may back down from sharing their opinions, in the future. They may also counter with heightened animosity so that they may succeed in having their box of words remain on the table, or better yet, do the same in retaliation.
What we are talking about here is not love, romance, passion, respect, or commitment. We are talking about a constant drive (to be right) that displaces the aforementioned generators of relationship success. Individuals often feel vindicated when their partner concedes the point or back down, but in every dispute, part of the relationship is lost; that is, intimacy suffers.
I can tell you that if you master validation, with your partner, you will realize an untold amount of connection. To do this, one has to put aside their pride or desire to be right. Often, the argument is just a defense that is covering up a much deeper issue. If individuals never achieve the aforementioned level of connection, then these deeper issues will never come to light, let alone be resolved.