You may be right, dear

August 6, 2018

Dean and Nancy Hoch

We all know “the scene.” We’ve likely been involved in “the scene” at one time or another; in one way or another.

Two strong-willed people begin arguing, a heated exchange ensues, voices become louder, and the confrontation escalates. At best, two people arguing is not a pretty situation. Sometimes it can sadly devolve into something like two banty roosters going at each other. The whole thing can deteriorate into name calling, swearing, and sometimes even violence. So many factors contribute to domestic or even international disputes. The whole world has problems to resolve. But how?

The “scene” described above between two people is one that could almost always be “headed off at the pass” by one or both parties if they would remember four meaningful words from the Bible. It was Jesus who faced a major conflict and resolved it in a simple way. . . : “He made no reply.”

Those four powerful words are found in Matthew 27:14 and also Luke 23:9. Most Christians are familiar with what happened at the end of the life of Jesus Christ. He had been falsely accused of blasphemy and was brought before Pilate, the Roman prefect, to be tried.

Pilate gazed at the imposing figure standing before him. We can wonder what was going through both men’s minds as they faced each other.

Pilate questioned Jesus at length, and it is recorded that Jesus “made no reply.”

Jesus could easily have defended himself. There is so much he could have said – so many words could have been uttered, but instead he amazed Pilate by choosing to be silent –to answer not back.

Think how many arguments would never start, how many cruel words would never be spoken, what time and energy could be put to productive use…. if we would all do as Jesus did and simply “make no reply.”

As soon as an argument begins, best solution: DROP IT! Almost always, It’s simply not worth it. Some people say, “Pick your battles,” but the hope would be that we do not even have to have battles, especially those that create withering stress for all concerned. It’s NOT easy to reach this point, but so well worth the effort.

John, a dear friend of many years, found his own personal solution when faced with differences with his wife -- and it did not happen overnight. He finally learned to make it a habit to quietly leave the room saying, “You may be right, dear,” all the while intermittently muttering under his breath, “…but I know you’re wrong.” Not easy for this wiry cowboy from Texas, an amateur boxer, and a real “back-down-from-nobody scrapper -- as well as a devout Christian. He learned early on to just let it be and work things out later.

It should be said that when a couple says they never have any arguments in their marriage, it probably means they are still on their honeymoon … or that they might tend to fib about other things, as well.

In our own marriage, when those inevitable problems arise, and we are not communicating well face-to-face, we have found that writing notes to each other and/or talking on the phone, sometimes going for a walk -- sometimes together -- can often take the edge off our differences….and eventually a resolution of one kind or another is always found.

There are undeniable sides to every issue, and even when we are on the “right” side, we can have the quiet satisfaction of knowing that we are – until the issue is no longer an issue. Common courtesy also needs to be at play, and both parties often simply need time to think and try to see the other person’s way of viewing things.

Even when we are certain in our minds that we know we are right, let’s be like the Savior and “make no reply” – and if we do have to say something, let it be something spoken quietly such as “You may be right, dear…”.

Dean & Nancy Hoch are local public affairs representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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