You get in a fight with your guy.
You start taking chunks out of each other.
You’re both saying things you might regret later, but damn it you’re mad!
In the worst fights, both partners get a chance to air all their grievances as loudly as possible. This leads to a few nasty smacks of honesty we may not want to have heard.
Our partner might be brutally honest with us about our faults in a way that wounds us, that makes us want to spit venom back at them just to deal them equal damage.
All you care about now in this mental space is being right. Winning. Proving your point. Being the one with the better case. We get indignant with their anger: “How can she be mad at me?? She’s the one that drives me insane!”
But then the dust settles. You have some space to think.
And after calming down and letting go of your anger, maybe in one brief window something clicks in your mind and even if it’s only about one single issue, that dreaded thought tiptoes across your consciousness: “He might have been right about a couple of things though”.
Now you have a dilemma: Do you admit your flaw to him, or do you shrug it off, safe in the knowledge that the argument is over so it no longer matters anyway?
I want to make a case that you tell your partner those three magic words “You were right”.
I don’t mean you have to come to him with your tail between your legs, sheepish and apologetic. Chances are, you both have valid points.
But it’s really important to recognise when someone else, be it a friend, family member, or partner, says something right. Maybe it’s mid-argument. Maybe it’s days later. Maybe you bring it up over coffee and say: “I know when I’m stressed I completely close up and become so difficult to deal with. You were right, I can be really unreasonable. I just want you to know I do really appreciate you just trying to help, and I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like I didn’t. I love that you care about me and I’m going to work on being better in those situations”.
Two of the best, underrated qualities in a partner to me are humility, and the ability to show self-awareness.
If I know i’m with someone who will go away and truly reflect on their shortcomings and ways they want to improve communication after an argument, I know I have a partner I can trust 100%.
But if I’m with someone whose only goal is to WIN WIN WIN, prove they’re right, show how they are always looking at the situation in the right way, and who refuses to accept fault…that’s when arguing becomes a hobby, rather than a solution to anything.
I’m not afraid of the occasional argument in relationships. Arguments are just a sign of failed communication or a problem that can (hopefully) be solved. What I’m afraid of the partner who doesn’t consider how they can help fix it.
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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.
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(Photo: Raul Lieberwirth)
9 Replies to “A Man’s Favourite Three Words In A Relationship”
Those three words are a favorite of both men and women. I have those “fight to win it” relationships in my family so I’m trying to figure out what I can do to be a part of the solution. Slow going, so far :)
Thank you, Steve. Self-awareness and humility are very important traits in both oneself and one’s partners. I’d add that the way one apologizes shows either high self-confidence or deep insecurity. Self-assured people appreciate the feedback; weak people use apologies to cling and beg.
“Self Assured People Appreciate the Feedback”
I like that One, that’s totally True
You can tell a lot about Somebody’s Level of Maturity by the Way they React to Corrective Criticism
Absolutely agree with your last point. And let’s face it some people really love to have an argument. I’ve come to think these people should pair up with people of a similar way of being or life will, quite frankly, be made miserable.
Communication needs to start before it becomes an argument. I was talking to a lady today who obviously has superior skills in this area. Time and again, the talk regarding her husband would come round to how, in the very first instance, she had communicatd her needs, what she could and could not do, tolerate, wouldn’t like and they had never become an issue. She was the easiest person to talk with, to the point when you leave and say ‘it was so nice to have met you’. And really mean it.
I was so impressed, I realised how much I have gone along with things, plans in the past which really didn’t suit me and I never spoke up. Until it became a major issue, arguing point. I’ve learnt a lot today, thanks Stephen. xx
Thank You Stephen. Golden and Perfect Timing as Always
The other person is always a little bit stumped when you say ‘You were right.’
Some people truly don’t expect people to say that in arguments, because people think to argue is to fight. To battle.
Instead of perhaps seeing it as ‘addressing’ something.
I know that when a man says ‘You were right [about ‘that’ thing]’ to me, I stand to attention and really see him as someone I can communicate with.
It also opens a door for me to come back and say that he was right about me too.
It calms things down.
If got a question but I have some baaaad english Skills. Hope you understand sth.
Well, I’ve been gone through many things in my life and I’ve never had that person to talk to or to look up to. Even no one in my family give me credit. Its a complicated Family Situation. They’ve always been rude to me. The only advice i got to be happy or successful in life Is to accept what they say even when i knew their beliefs are completely wrong. Like to never trust someone except the Family or everyone is bad except the family . I grew up as an uncertain Person Who always have doubts to never be good enough in every life Situation and in every Relationship. And that kills my Ambition.
Im still Doing things others expecting me to do because I dont wanna disappoint someone.. It has a negative effect at my Social life. Never had a really good friend to actually Trust or Talk to. Its difficult to me. No one ever told me with what to deal in life, what is right or wrong. I’ve only learned to do what others want me to do and have No opinion.
I agree Matthew. Humility and self awareness are essential to a great relationship. Being able to stop–recognize a truth another has said during an argument is an amazing point. So true. Not easily done it requires like you said, humility and self awareness. Being able to listen and understand your partners point of view even when it goes against yours is extremely sexy. Great post, keep em coming.
You’re so right, Stephen, and I’m impressed that you have this figured out already. Were your parents good at apologizing? It seems to be something a lot of people have a hard time with–emotions can be so high in an argument, and defenses even higher, and it seems like some people will doing anything, go to extreme lengths, just to avoid saying “I’m sorry.” As if those words will kill them–whereas they would probably in fact make them stronger. Some arguments are never going to end in either person saying “You were right,” but when that is possible, and sincere, it’s amazing to see the effects. My sister and her husband have gotten good at this, and it’s inspiring :).
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