Would you rather be right than happy?

We were having an enjoyable lunch by the sea, the soft breeze gently blowing our hair and a feeling of euphoria following a glass of wine and a good feed. It all seemed perfect – until one of our friends made a statement that her husband disagreed with. She blithely went on to fill out the story but he kept interrupting her and telling her that what she was saying was not right. He became more and more agitated and by the time the argument escalated, we had forgotten what the original story was about.

There was a dampening of spirits and the atmosphere changed dramatically. It made me wonder for what reason did the husband have to be so dogmatic about getting it ‘right’. It really didn’t matter and his actions made us all uncomfortable and really spoiled the enjoyment of the day.

I must admit that there was a time that I would not let remarks pass by when I felt I knew better. Was it because I was a know-it-all? I think I understand the reason now. I am more and more convinced that the biggest cause of disharmony in our world is largely about self esteem. I know that now that I am more confident and have found out who I am – at a late age – I no longer have to prove myself by being ‘right’ and am also able to listen when I am proven wrong. It is a great learning experience and so liberating being able to let go the need to always be right.

Still – there are moments when we need to stick up for what we believe to be right and wouldn’t it be boring if we just agreed with each other all of the time? Three doctors in New Zealand conducted an experiment on one married couple where the husband was instructed to do everything the wife asked him to do and agree with everything she said. I actually don’t know many men who would even agree to such an arrangement!

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The wife knew nothing about this arrangement and neither knew that the husband would be designated the “happy” participant and the wife designated the ‘right’ participant – thereby defining happy as agreeable.

But the experiment was stopped after twelve days because of adverse outcomes! The wife became extremely critical of the husband and his quality of life dropped dramatically. The tongue in cheek researchers deduced that –“It seems that being right is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness”.

I’m not sure what the experiment was supposed to prove but I think we women know that a subservient husband does not a happy marriage make. I would also suggest that there is a way we can put our views forward without being aggressive. Sometimes I even find some of our comments on SAS can be perceived as a little on the aggressive side – preserving human dignity is an important component for our happiness and well being I feel.

If we want to learn how not to do that – just watch the way our government operates!


What do you think? Do you like a bit of discussion and being proven wrong or do you need to be right?