April 28, 2009

What To Do When She's 'Always Right'

Several days ago I posted a comment I received from a reader back in January in response to an article I wrote called Are You Good At Being Wrong? It seems as though there are many husbands struggling out there with always feeling like they are their wives' doormat; that their wives are always right no matter what.

Let me make this clear before I start so as not to offend our lady readers out there: both men and women struggle with admitting when they are wrong. The point of our post today is not to say that men don't deal with this. The point of this post is helping husbands deal with their wives when the wives themselves are in the wrong.

I did have some thoughts when I read through that comment that I want to share. Custom fit these thoughts and suggestions to your own specific situation, because every situation is different.

  • Let Her Cool Down Before Expressing Your Feelings — Saying something to your wife like, "Well you're always right and I'm always wrong!" is just gasoline on a flame in the heat of the moment. In all actuality, she's upset about the situation, not at you. Wait until later to let her know to express to her things like, "I felt really hurt by the way you acted earlier." Removing yourselves from the situation will allow you to talk about what you want to talk about.
  • But If You Do Need To Mention Something...— Recently my wife was very irritated with something that was going on (I think we were traveling) and she kept snapping at me out of frustration. This, in turn, was of course making me get very frustrated, so eventually I just asked, "Babe, are you upset with me?" She immediately said, "No, I'm just overwhelmed with..." I told her that the way she was acting was making me feel like she was angry with me. She apologized and things cooled down after that because she realized what was happening. Sometimes our anger toward other things catches our spouses in the crossfire.
  • When She's Always Right — Our reader comment was a very specific situation of anger, but many people commented in the post Are You Good At Being Wrong about how their wives never admit that they are wrong, no matter how trivial the issue. If this is something that gets you down, you need to talk about it with her. But again, do it when you are away from the situation to limit her being overly defensive. Tell her, "It makes me feel really incompetent when you won't admit you're wrong over the little things." Or, "I feel beaten when I can't even be right over the little things I know I'm right about.
  • Check Yourself — It is a lot easier for her to sympathize with your feelings if she knows you are trying in this area too. If you act just as stubborn, then telling her she needs to fix her problems is part of the reason you have problems. Check yourself; how well have you been able to admit your faults?
  • If She Disregards Your Feelings Completely — If you have lovingly and clearly stated how you feel and things still don't seem to change, it's time to get help. Getting help can be as simple as going to another couple you know that has dealt with the same issue but gained victory over it, or as "extreme" as going to a counselor. This is your life and your marriage. If things aren't the way they should be, do not be okay with that. Little problems become big problems, and little issues become big feelings of resentment if they are not dealt with.

These are just a few ideas to help you in this area of how to get along with a wife who acts as though she is always right. I hope some of these have helped, and I would love to hear more suggestions on how to improve this situation in marriage in the comments below.

7 comments:

  1. Very good! Redemptive love (Eph 5) is about hanging in there and being strong and understanding. Even when tensions are high we do not need to check out. As the book "Love and Respect" points out, checking out may be the easier thing for husbands to do, but it is often counterproductive.

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  2. from a wife who was "always right"

    my husband brought this embarrassing fault to my attention once during a knock-down drag-out fight. i realized he was right but, ashamedly, was too proud to acknowledge it then, i continued rationalizing him as the guilty person in that fight

    however, the next time i was to blame for the problem, i stepped up and apologized

    i guess i just couldn't bring myself to admit he was right and i was wrong after the fight had exploded

    i will say that i am much better at being wrong ... in part to reading this blog (something a while ago about your wife being impressed that you were "good at being wrong" about minuscule things??) and in part to my husband telling me how ridiculous i was for managing to turn all of the blame around

    thanks for blogging

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  3. I see some similarities in our marriage. I've noticed that "in the moment", either person admitting fault is rare; but later, when everyone's cooled down and not so caught-up in the emotions, it's easier to admit fault.

    I haven't seen a pattern indicating which person has an easier time admitting fault except that it takes my wife a lot longer to cool down, so her admissions of fault don't generally occur until later. :)

    There's also the issue of how differing personality types admit fault; plus, there are factors (e.g. gender) at work. My wife is very good at verbalizing her feelings whereas I tend to convey my feelings through actions and content (e.g. mentioning cooking something special for dinner together or going out for a drive and a latte). My point is that it can sometimes be difficult for either/both people to spot how they express feelings and admissions of fault.

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  4. my husband is the one who is 'always right' i'm constantly aware that i may be wrong, but he never is. sigh. this blog makes me sad. if i were to even remotely suggest my husband to read this blog he'd retort 'ah ha, this is where you're getting all these crazy idealistic views of what you want' sigh. i'm so frustrated. if anything romantic happens it's because i've planned it all. i don't expect much, maybe just some validation. for the past 22 years i'm always the last one on my husband's list of priorities but he doesn't agree. sigh. that's all. i do love your blog though. keep it up. your wife is very lucky.

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    Replies
    1. My wife is the always right one. I have checked out in the marriage.

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  5. Just venting. My wife makes me feel that I can't do anything right. We have been married 20 yrs and I feel all I do is work. She quit her job 18 yrs ago to be a stay at home mom and I had to make up for the loss of income. I'm know managing a group in a large company and with part of my staff overseas, find myself working late almost everyday. She does not do much around the house, takes time to watch her favorite shows and by the time I get home there's very little time for myself. I typically stay up late just to unwind. The weekend is filled with a list that I can never complete. She has her time with her friends that she plans in advance and recently after 20 yrs I picked up a hobby. Know I find it a struggle to have time for my hobby and I'm thinking about giving it up. There's a number of other issue not mentioned. Just needed to vent.

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  6. I feel I'm quite "Good at being wrong" in my marriage, but recently chanced my arm and stuck my head above the parapet in the hopes of "being right". I'd won a community award (no help from her) from the local council and we'd just got back from the ceremony and my 9 year old son was playing one of my favourite pieces on piano. It felt like a good night, a special night. I invited my wife to come through and play the left hand part, even though she doesn't play, as it was just 2 notes. I offered to show her, and she snapped angrily back at me that she'd rather our son showed her "because he's friendlier". Once she'd finished playing the piece, she got right in my grille, barking at me "not to tell me what to do", so I gently pushed her away, then lost my temper verbally after a build up of weeks of constant criticism. The following night, when we got to the root of why - on this occasion - she was irrationally angry with me, it turned out a couple of days earlier I'd LOOKED the wrong way at her. When I explained that the look wasn't intended as anything, that I was tired, and that I'm short sighted and do sometimes stare, I thought she might see fit to apologise for the spiteful piano incident. But no, not even in a case as glaringly obvious as this, is she "in the wrong". Frustrating to never hear a sincere "sorry" from her. I've managed to get a couple of begrudging "sorry"'s from her in the 13 years of our relationship, but if it's begrudging and requested, then it's kind of worse than no "sorry" at all.

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