When Being Right Is Wrong
I have this thing where I really like to be right. I can’t remember a time in my life when being right didn’t matter to me. In fact, my mom would probably tell you that the words she heard out of my mouth most often growing up were, “I know.”
I’m sure this affected my family relationships and friendships throughout my life, but I never saw just how damaging it could be until a few years into my marriage.
We’ve all seen the T-shirts and home decor based on that stereotype of a wife: “Mr. Right” and “Mrs. Always Right” or “Marriage is a relationship where one is always right…and the other is the husband.”
As sweet and vindicating as those words “You were right” are, they’re not necessarily building a healthy marriage.
About a year ago, I felt convicted about my level of respect for my husband, so I decided that instead of guessing what would make him feel more respected by me, I’d just ask him. He thought about it for a while and then said, “I wish you were willing to fail with me. I know you’re smart and wise and you research everything before moving forward, but sometimes I wish you’d just trust my opinion and be on my team. And if I’m wrong or if we fail, at least we did it together.”
After hearing that, I kind of wished I had come up with my own answer.
Asking me to fail? To be wrong? He must be out of his mind.
But when I saw how earnestly he desired my unconditional support, and when I thought about how the times I’ve seen him flourish most as a man were when I trusted instead of questioned him, I realized he was right: I need to be willing to be wrong with him.
Since that conversation, I have a new motto for those moments when I’m faced with the decision to either follow my husband or forge my own path. I tell myself these five simple words: Don’t be right. Be with.
There are times it’s really important to speak your mind, trust your gut, and use the wisdom and discernment God has given you. I’m not saying you should squelch your thoughts, reduce your value, or become a doormat. And I’m definitely not saying to choose your husband’s opinion over God’s clear truth.
What I am saying, though, is that I’ve seen my husband’s confidence grow when I decide to bite my tongue and do things his way when we’re faced with decisions that fall in those pesky gray areas. God gives us freedom to make decisions on our own based on what we know of His principles, character, and love—and sometimes our husband’s ideas are just as good as our own.
I don’t want my kids to grow up seeing Mom constantly questioning Dad’s judgment. I want them to see a beautiful, harmonious, sacrificial and united marriage. I want them to see a union where both my husband and I have laid our lives down for one another and chosen to be on the same team instead of planting our flags on opposing sides.
And the amazing thing is, the more I’ve tried to do this, the more I’ve naturally grown to respect my husband.
Wife Step: Think about some areas in your marriage where it’s difficult for you to let your husband lead or make decisions. Could it be disciplining your children? Interacting with family and in-laws? Decisions about finances?
Once you figure out your problem area, decide to let him lead on the next decision (as long as what he’s deciding is in line with biblical principles). Show your support by simply trusting him. And if he ends up being wrong, don’t hold it over him. Instead, rejoice that you stayed on the same team and stuck in it together.
Remember that God’s got you both. Sometimes trusting God means humbling ourselves and trusting our husbands.
Bailey Richardson is the wife of a Paul Bunyan look-a-like, the mama of a growing little family, and a woman on the wild adventure of pursuing Jesus. She lives in a small lake town in Minnesota where her family is highly involved in their local church and Young Life, a global non-profit youth ministry. A self-proclaimed “recovering perfectionist,” Bailey loves writing for and connecting with women who want to more deeply experience the grace, freedom, and abundance that comes from following Jesus. You can find her at baileymrichardson.com or on Instagram @baileymrichardson.