Have you ever gotten in an argument, and even if you “won” or made better points, you still felt like you lost something? You look back and intellectually understood why your position was “right,” but something didn’t feel right.
Dale Carnegie writes in his timeless classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People,
“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”
If you’re married, in a relationship, or have interacted with human beings for any amount of time, you know what I’m talking about. If you value the relationship, you know deep down that being right doesn’t actually matter. It’s not helpful.
Derek Webb has an album titled, “I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You.” It’s a phrase we can all benefit from using sooner rather than later, because at the end of the day, when the person you love is sitting across from you, do you really want to win?
Of course not. You want to be understood. And when your well-versed, sharp-tongued remarks are falling down like acid rain, I can guarantee no one will get to the core of the thing.
And it’s never really about what you’re arguing about, is it? The dirty clothes on the floor isn’t so much about the dirty clothes as much as it is that your spouse doesn’t feel like you hear them.
I’ve been alive for 28 years, adulting for a decade of that, and married for 4 1/2. I’ve had my fair share of arguments, and honestly, I feel like I’m a good debater. But I would rather be a good husband, friend, son, brother.
It’s three simple things:
If we pursue the alternative:
Then we might “win” today, but we will always lose in the end. We will lose relationships. We will lose intimacy. We will be the lonely victor in a fight that can’t actually be won.