Do You Want To Be Happy Or Do You Want To Be Right?

Talk it through

My husband, Trip, and I married in 2003 and we dated five long years before that. Honestly, he was one of the most thoughtless men I’d ever dated, the fact that we married at all, I’m sure is credited to divine intervention. That being said, he is the best husband I could have ever hoped for and every year we are together we love each other more and more. But, that was not always so.

For most people, the first year of marriage is that lovey-dovey honeymoon phase. For us, however, because we had dated so long prior to getting married, I think we sort of skipped over that phase. That first year was a rocky one, filled with arguments and decision-making power struggles. I remember constantly second-guessing my decision, feeling trapped—and I kept having this crazy idea that I had now cut myself off from anything more wonderful happening to me.

A couple of years into our marriage, we went to a financial planning seminar. The only thing I remember from that seminar is these words from one of the speakers, "Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right?" Immediately I perked up. These were magical words, the question to end all arguments. (Yes, this was my only takeaway from a financial planning seminar). For the next several years anytime there was a … heated discussion between Trip and I. I would toss out that magic question and it would stop him in his tracks, as he would reflect on it. I was the "winner" of many disagreements. I had found my "weapon," because my husband would in fact rather be happy than be right. 

Then one day it occurred to me that Trip had never asked me that same question, he’d never used my own words against me—but I did. I began asking myself, instead of asking him, if I would rather be happy or would I rather be right. This is when the real shift occurred in our marriage. Before an argument ever got off the ground, I began to consider that single question. And now? When I began to choosing happiness, when I began to listen, when I began to respect my husband, even when I did not agree with what he was saying, that is when all those unnecessary battles just dissipated. We still have disagreements, but they are calmer, more rational, and even more loving. Neither one of us is always right, but we are most definitely happier.  

I challenge you that if you find you and your spouse are seemingly at odds with each other and you have not yet achieved the relationship you desire. Do not do what I did and start asking your spouse if he/she would rather be happy or rather be right, just ask yourself.

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This article was originally published at LeNae Goolsby. Reprinted with permission from the author.