Posts tagged “staying married

Rather Be Right than Married, Pt. 2

The assignment in the August 31 post, Rather Be Right, than Married?, asked you to comment on the statement that “90% of couples would rather be right than married.” Several of you did offer ideas on this topic, including –

“The solving (marriage) circle concept comes to mind. When focusing on improving the relationship becomes the main issue, right and wrong could be less relevant. Thanks for asking, Jim.”

“Those couples have a bigger need for controlling than belonging. It is sad that the love is not stronger than the personal need.”

“I would rather be right AND Married. I think it is a classic example of needs not being met and frustration building to a point of argument. Feeling like you have won the argument gives a sense of power and freedom which may be highly desirable if you are not experiencing the other basic needs being met in the relationship… I will be thinking more on this. Thanks!”

“This topic reminds me of the amazing power of our quality world pictures. Our lives really do revolve around the pictures we form and place in our mental picture books. It is fascinating how, once a picture gets into our picture books, we go into action to get that picture to become a reality. When the picture is a good one and we use the caring habits to achieve it the process is healthy. When the picture is less than good, or maybe even an unhealthy picture, and we use the deadly habits to achieve it, the process is destructive. A preference for being right over being in relationship to your spouse sounds like some combination of the deadly habits with a less than good quality world picture.”

So, was curious and looked this up: statistics say that 41% of first marriages end in divorce, and that 60% of second marriages end in divorce. Apparently, the marriage relationship is a challenging one to successfully negotiate. You’d think that the rate of divorce for second marriages would be better than that of first marriages. I mean, wouldn’t we learn something during the first marriage about what we really need in a partner, which would then lead to an informed choice for a second-marriage partner? Nope, doesn’t happen. (Third marriage statistics are even worse than second marriage failures.)

Every human being is blessed with a personal internal control system. One of the qualities of an internal control system is that it doesn’t like being controlled by another system. If a person would rather be right than married, he (or she) needs to look at the whole control thing and shift the focus to themselves, rather than trying to control their partner.


Just noticed this quote taped to the side of the filing cabinet next to my home office desk –

The greatest conflict is not between two people,
but between one person and himself.

Garth Brooks

Rather Be Right, than Married?

A therapist I knew shared with me that “90% of the couples I counsel would rather be right than married.”

This conversation took place over 35 years ago, yet I still remember this pithy, say-a-lot-with-few-words statement stopping me in my mental tracks. Now in my 42nd year of marriage, this statement continues to stop me in my tracks as it simultaneously encourages and accuses me.

90% of couples in therapy would rather be right than married

It would seem this statement relates to Choice Theory, but how? How does the idea of wanting to be right rather than being married relate to the elements of Choice Theory? I would appreciate your help with this. I think this topic deserves a blog post, but your insights will make the post better. Consider the following prompts and then share your thoughts. You can answer one of them or both of them.

Question 1: How do you respond to the statement that “90% of couples in therapy would rather be right than married?”

Question 2: What elements of Choice Theory come to mind when you consider the statement that “90% of couples in therapy would rather be right than married?”

Use the Leave a Reply box below to share your responses.

If you want to share anonymously send your response to and I will remove any identification before using it in a follow-up post.

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