Friday, October 14, 2011

Week 13: Who's Right and Who's Wrong

Scripture to practice for Relationship Revival Week 13:
Romans 12:3
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to explore Romans 12 in detail, as God has jam packed tons of helpful tips for us as couples in that chapter. We'll start with verse 3, today’s scripture.

One thing human nature predicts is that we always need to be right. We need the last word. We need to be better than everyone else. And when it comes to relationships, that can be the death of us.

This dire need to always be right suffocates good marriages. How often have you gotten into enormous fights over who’s right and who’s wrong? How many times have you found yourself unwilling to give in because you thought you knew better than your spouse? Of course this is a major pride issue, and we all know that in order to have healthy, loving relationships, we sometimes—always—need to put our pride aside.

That’s why this scripture tells us to think of ourselves with “sober judgment.” When we are prideful, it’s hard to see ourselves in the true light of day. It’s how children view the world when the sun goes down and darkness misrepresents everything around them. Suddenly, the things they saw all day now make them anxious. When we are living in pride, we are living in darkness, and the way we see ourselves is typically not accurate.

Why do we feel the need to be right all the time? And what will it hurt to admit when we don’t know something, or confess we were wrong? We sometimes make marriage a competition with our spouse, always needing to better than them and insisting they are wrong about this or that. In our need to be right, we are incredibly wrong!

My study bible explains the second portion of this scripture, “God has given,” as power from God. “There can be no basis for a superior attitude or self-righteousness since our power comes from God.” When we insist we are right, we have taken God out of the picture. We give ourselves the glory, and in the process we demean the intelligence of our partner. We might as well call them “stupid,” because when we argue about who’s right and who’s wrong, we are insulting and offending them in cruel ways without even realizing the damage that’s being done.

Sure, it’s always nice to be right. I’ll admit, I’m right about a lot of things (see that awful PRIDE!), but I’m also wrong about a lot, too. I am the first one to admit my mistakes and take full responsibility for any wrong doings I’ve done, or any wrong information I’ve provided. I am incredibly outspoken about my political beliefs, but there are some topics I’m not well versed about, so I don’t bother getting caught up in debates about them. Instead, I like to gather information from both sides. I then let common sense and facts rule my decision on where I stand.

This need to be right in all things, all the time, will lead to destructive arguments, petty resentments, and hard feelings. Is being right worth more to you than your own marriage?

ACTION PLAN: Stop looking at yourself through the eyes of pride. Sober up and consider how it looks from God’s perspective. Measure it with the faith God has given you—the abilities He’s given you! Do not consider yourself above your spouse, but rather on equal ground.

GO FURTHER: Consider what your partner is saying to you instead of only wanting to be right. Take their points and opinions into consideration, and ask them nicely why they see it that way. You can also ask them to show you the evidence of their argument. Not in a mean spirited way, but try something like this: “That’s interesting. How did you come to that conclusion? Would you mind showing me? I’d like to understand it from your point of view.” Of course that sounds a bit cheesy, but you get the point.

When I first met Jared, he was convinced he was a die-hard liberal. But on our first date, upon asking me questions about my political reasonings, he soon realized that he held those same beliefs and they didn't jive with the liberal mindset. Sometimes when we ask questions and understand why our partner believes in one thing or another, we can be pleasantly surprised to find out we actually agree on something.

FACT: Forcing others into believing you are right often makes you look incredibly wrong.

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