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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Yes, dear


It is better to be right than to be happy – at least for one husband on the cutting edge of science.

As part of an unusual experiment, the husband was instructed to “agree with his wife’s every opinion and request without complaint,” and to continue doing so “even if he believed the female participant was wrong,” according to a report on the research that was published Tuesday by the British Medical Journal.

The husband and wife were helping a trio of doctors test their theory that pride and stubbornness get in the way of good mental health. In their own medical practices in New Zealand, they had observed patients leading “unnecessarily stressful lives by wanting to be right rather than happy.” If these patients could just let go of the need to prove to others that they were right, would greater happiness be the result?

[. . .]

“It seems that being right, however, is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness,” they wrote. They also noted that “the availability of unbridled power adversely affects the quality of life of those on the receiving end.”

Stuff and nonsense. Being right makes me happy. Of course, it's not being right that makes those around you unhappy. It's being insufferably right at the top of your lungs, never letting anybody else forget about it. Just because you're right, in other words, don't be a a-hole about it. Besides, it makes you seem silly by declaring you are right all the time, which annoys the hell out of the few of us who actually are.

This is just a study of one couple, so it's also a little silly to put that much stock in it. But it's just a fun read. If I understand it, what they're saying is that this "going along to get along" stuff doesn't work because absolute power corrupts absolutely even in a small, intimate setting. If you give your spouse all the power by never disagreeing, she will end up wanting even more power over you. Welcome to hell, wimp.