D. Charles Williams, Ph.D.
There is an ongoing epidemic in the world of marital relationships. When a problem occurs between a couple, they both insist on being right. Being "right" takes on such competitive intensity, that the otherís point of view is treated as wrong! In addition, neither side feels understood nor listened to. The result is anger from feeling misunderstood, ignored and wrong! What does this type of communication do to a relationship? It makes both parties feel invalidated and it alienates them from each other. So what can be done about this unrewarding pattern of interaction?
Try asking yourself this simple question: Would I rather be right or close?
Having to be right all the time means someone has to be wrong. This creates defensiveness, distance and separation in the relationship. Closeness occurs when we begin by admitting that our partner has a valid point. In other words, identify what you agree with first, not with what you disagree. Each of us wants our particular position acknowledged because we desire affirmation from the person that we love. Promoting closeness comes from demonstrating that what our partner says has merit, even if we possess a different opinion. When others feel understood and listened to, they drop their guard and demonstrate the "Golden Rule" of treating others the way they want to be treated. Practice this with your partner and you both will be Right and Close!