I was raised in a very conservative environment. We had a small family farm just outside the city limits where hard work and discipline were the order of the day. The political views of my parents tended to be quite narrow. It was the 70’s. My dad in particular had nothing good to say about “those meddling environmentalists.” One of his biggest complaints was their concern about air quality was ruining cars and the auto industry in general. I had a lot of respect for my father so his opinion became mine—for a time.

Fast-forward twenty years—I am stuck in traffic behind an old pick up spewing white smoke. I was annoyed at the smell and thought, “Wow. It smells like the 70’s.” I instantly had a major shift in my views and attitude. I felt completely different about the environmentalists who fought the political machines to give me clean air. I realized . . . I had been wrong!

I hope it doesn’t always take me twenty years to change my perspective, particularly on important issues. Part of my personality unfortunately, involves a certain amount of stubbornness. However, as life progresses, I find that change in perspective can be a good thing, especially in a relationship.

I once heard an interview with a doctor who said, “Half of everything we know is wrong; we just don’t know which half it is.” Maybe that is a good attitude to have in a relationship. Now I am not saying you have to be wishy-washy, it is just that on some matters you should be open to the possibility that you could be wrong and that your spouse could be right. This pliability goes a long way for making the other person feel safe in their opinion and less threatened by your opposing view.

It is also important to recognize there may be many occasions when it really shouldn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. It’s just not that important of a subject. However, I have seen couples have major fights that damage their relationship, sometimes irreparably, over an insignificant issue. It seemed that who was right and who was wrong was the all-important point. The reality is that consideration for each other’s feelings should be more important than being right.

I once heard someone say that the four most important words to say in a relationship are, “You may be right.” I always thought it was just the title of a popular Billy Joel song. By admitting aloud, “You may be right,” you may be sparing your relationship the agony of endless conflict. Arguments can end peacefully. Even perspectives and attitudes can change in the safe environment created by the statement, “You may be right.”

And you never know; admitting that the other party could be right, just might spare you twenty years of being wrong.