Would you rather be right than happy? 36



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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!

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? 

Lyn Traill

Lyn Traill is a very late bloomer and is grateful to feel she is being more productive now than at any other time in her life. Whilst still involved in corporate consulting, her real passions are writing and speaking. She has had a number of educational books published but ‘Sizzling at Seventy – victim to victorious’ was her first book for adults. Lyn’s mantra is that it is never too late to find your ‘fabulous’. www.traillblaze.com

  1. My hubby often tells me the opposite and swears his right. I know I’m right, sometimes it’s his deafness or just want to be right. So frustrating makes me so angry. Men get so armament they’re right. Worse when getting older.

  2. time & a place for everything. debate & discussion is good however, when it turns into arguments & personal then it has gone too far.

  3. I think it is very rude to butt in while someone is telling a story etc. It has happened to me on many occasions, not to correct, but simply to put in their dollar’s worth. If your spouse has said something wrong, simply wait until you are on your own to discuss the inconsistencies.

    2 REPLY
    • Sometimes you got to put in your view or you forget it… I am teaching myself to not have a view in conversations around here cos they don’t hold water any way….. But yes it isn’t good to be interrupted or talked over….

    • Absolutely right Morvyth. I often hear my husband telling a story and I know it’s not correct, but I wait until we are alone and then tell him that that’s not the way I remember it. I’ve noticed that if he retells the same story, he’ll generally say I remember it as this, but my wife swears it was that. and we have a laugh.

      1 REPLY
      • If I interrupted my husband telling a story he would ask if I wanted to tell it. Mind you he would interrupt me just as often. Bit boring now never being interrupted.

  4. If you know someone is saying something that is definitely not right, one way to “correct” that statement is to say “Have you considered ….” or “I always thought ….” Neither of these are an attack on the original speaker, but bring to light information on the subject that may change their view … provided they acknowledge what you have said.

  5. It always bugged me when my late husband got the details wrong when he was telling a story & I must admit, I used to interrupt & correct him. I didn’t realise how much it bothered him until we spoke about it one day. From then on, unless it was something which needed to be right, I held my tongue & maybe discussed it with him later

  6. My husband is one of those who speaks over you,I used to let it go now I don’t I put him in his box,after 59 years all women need medal,if they have lasted that long…lol

  7. There are two men in my family who get narked about ‘being interrupted’, but the fact is that their stories go on for so long you can’t get a word in unless you jump in. As I’ve said, “if you don’t want my participation it isn’t a conversation. That takes two people”.

    1 REPLY
  8. My husband is from the “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” brigade but I try to keep my mouth shut.

  9. I am can be opinionated which makes people think I am confident when in fact I am not.

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