I hate it when I’m wrong


I hate it when I’m wrong, but I especially hate when that means my husband is right.

If you’ve been married longer than ten minutes, I’m sure you can appreciate that sentiment. After twenty years of marriage, we’ve stopped keeping a tally mark, but that’s because we needed to clean out the garage, and all our old tally sheets were just taking up room. (Actually, it’s because I don’t want to even look at the real possibility that I might not be winning.)
This is how it usually goes in our house: I think I’m right. I know I’m right. I try to win a debate with my husband. I get mad. We quit debating. I pretend I’m still right.
This played out like an old dance during the first week the kids were back in school.
My third grader came home with massive amounts of work to do each night. Whatever he didn’t finish in class was sent home right alongside his regularly scheduled homework. And each night the poor little guy would start work right after snack and sit in the same spot in the kitchen until suppertime. After supper he would continue to work until it was time for bed.
The mommy in me was at a breaking point. He needed rescued, and who better to rescue than the same person to kissed his scraped knees and tucked him into bed every night?
I informed my husband of my plan. I was careful to use words like, “I’m going to” and “I plan to”. Not once did I slip in a phrase that sounded anywhere near, “what do you think” or “do you agree”. So, I’m not sure where things fell off course, but somewhere between the sentence, “I’m going to have a talk with his teacher” and “This has to stop; it’s ridiculous” my husband stopped me dead in my tracks with one comment.
“Leave it alone,” he said.
I had a lot of not-so-nice thoughts but managed to keep most of them from escaping my wagging tongue. He was mean. Cruel. How could he not care about his own kid? How could he be so dense as to think this was fair, reasonable for a poor 8-year-old kid to suffer through no playing, no fun every night – how could he be that unfeeling?

“Leave it alone?” I asked.

“Let him figure it out,” he said. “Remember all that research you did about dyslexia and about all those people with it? Do you really think that Charles Schwab, Patrick Dempsey or Steven Spielberg are so successful because of dyslexia? Or do you think it’s because there weren’t such things as accommodations and special plans when they went to school?”

“Well,” I said. It wasn’t much of an argument.

“Leave it alone and see if he can figure out that if he doesn’t work harder at school he doesn’t have fun at home. Let him solve this on his own. Don’t take that away from him.”

I still didn’t agree with him, but I knew this was going in his side of the tally sheet. Fine, we’ll do it his way and prove he’s wrong.

Over the next few weeks, the unfinished work that came home dwindled to almost nothing. And yesterday, there was a check next to everything on his schedule. Not one solitary piece of unfinished work in the back pack.

My husband won this argument. And this one I am more than happy to leave on his side of the tally sheet. Sometimes the best thing of all is to lose an argument.

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