Just yesterday a friend in his 30s said, “I went to a wedding last week and was blown away to find out that nearly all of my friends from college are already married and divorced.”
Divorce has become so common, we basically expect it to happen. In my last article, I shared three keys to having a great marriage. I just happen to have three more.
1. Choose Pleasantness Over Correctness. Being right is overrated. It’s just not necessary to always be right. There is, in fact, a way of being right that is wrong and a way of being wrong that is right. Someone said, “If you’re wrong and you shut up, you’re wise. If you’re right and you shut up, you’re married.” I’d add that shutting up when you’re right is an even higher manifestation of wisdom. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19, NASB). Being right in your attitude is more important, by far, than winning an argument.
…love doesn’t cop an attitude of superiority…
2. Give Space. It’s a law of human nature that we’re more inclined to want what’s not imposed upon us, and we pull back when we feel trapped or pressured. So, in marriage, what I call “the space factor” is vital. When feelings are hurt, allow for a respectful line that you’ll not cross until invited. Rather than press in with intense words and demands, gently give space. It may take just a few minutes, or it may take longer, depending on the nature of the conflict, but your beloved will draw close if you allow the reconnection to be voluntary. The principle is counterintuitive, so it will take practice. But once it becomes habitual, a high percentage of stress will vanish from your relationship.
3. Don’t Put on Airs. With incredible insight, Paul writes, “Love… is not puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4). The Greek word translated “puffed up” is phusioo, meaning to inflate, as with air. In other words, “Love doesn’t put on airs.” Or, love doesn’t cop an attitude of superiority—that is, “I’m right.” The thing about the “I’m right” attitude is that it causes the one you love to shut down. But an attitude of, “Hey, I may be wrong, please share your perspective,” opens the heart and resolves conflict.