Mr. Wrong, Mrs. Right!

Everybody likes to be right. It feels good. It is what we have been praised for from nearly the beginning of our existence. Correct behavior gets a cheer. Good grades get us a ‘high five.’ Winning a debate or an argument cement our value and credibility in this world. But, what about when we’re both right?

My husband and I recently participated in a “Newlywed Game” at one of our small group meetings. We’ve done this in the past, but this is the first time we both left the game a bit bewildered. How did we get that one question wrong? It is so obvious that...I’m right! Uh oh! Yes, we both said the other person was the perpetrator. How can that be, and where do we go from here? Things between us were now a bit strained, and that can be really awkward when you're supposed to be the 'happily ever after couple.'

So, what was the question? Simply this, Who never replaces the toilet paper when it is empty?

As we headed home for the evening, I found myself pondering how my husband could actually believe that he was the one who always changed the toilet paper. That is crazy and perplexing because I am the one who always changes it. (It's been that way since the day we were married!) Then I had a 'lightbulb moment!' The conversation went something like this.

Mrs. – Is the paper roll empty of all paper when you replace it?

Mr. – Yes, or nearly empty. Maybe a few squares of paper. Not enough to do anybody any good.

Mrs. – So, every time you have need of the toilet paper and find it has only a few squares left on the roll that means it is empty and needs replaced?  

Mr. – Definitely, and that is the way I often find the toilet tissue roll. It is so frustrating.

Mrs. – Ah, mystery solved. 

I’m a girl, and I’m frugal. I also – to put it delicately – need tissue a bit more often than my man. He stands…well, you get the picture. So, when I said I replaced the toilet tissue when empty I really meant it. When it is empty, I replace it. But, when he said that he replaced the toilet tissue when empty, he actually meant it was half-full. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration! (How many squares of toilet paper does one have to have on a roll to count as adequate for the next visitor?) In actuality, we were both right. We both were the one that replaced the toilet tissue the most often in our household, we just had a different definition of when that needed to take place.

Perspective can be everything when there are disagreements or differences of opinions.

We often impose our perspective on another individual and assume they think the same way that we do. To truly understand what they think, however, we have to get their perspective on a subject. We may genuinely disagree, but we may be saying the same thing and are just coming from two different directions. The longer you know someone, or live with them, the easier it is to understand where they are coming from and the disagreements – or arguments – lessen and lessen. What is scary in this scenario is that we have been married for over 30 years and are just now learning each other’s TP perspectives.

What was our new solution?

Well, first off. We both have need of toilet paper from time to time, so we both agreed to replace the roll when needed. However, I have now started to put the ‘almost empty’ roll off to the side and also replace the tissue holder with a fresh new roll of TP. This simple strategy now helps to keep things simpler for my husband and any family or guests that stop by and have need of a little rest stop.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Unless we’re talking about absolute truth of the Biblical proportion, it often simply depends on perspective. To gain perspective, we have to put ourselves in the other person’s proverbial shoes. Our difference of opinion on TP duty could have easily turned into a source of contention in our marriage. Hard to believe, but it’s true. Satan is always looking for ways to bring strife into our homes – even through a silly game. A humble and gentle spirit, coupled with prayer, can help us navigate the storms of who is right and who is wrong. And then there are the great verses in the Bible that remind us to seek peace – whether over TP or much deeper issues in life and ministry.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.” Hebrews 12:14a

“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Romans 14:19 (NAS)

Pursuing peace. Building each other up. Becoming holy. That’s where we should be headed in life, ministry and our marriages. We can’t always make every situation turn out with a happy ending – or in total agreement - but we can put in as much effort and prayer as possible and seek to move forward… “as far as it depends on you.”

Oh, and I have a feeling the next time my husband and I are asked to be participants in the “Newlywed Game” and get asked the question, Who changes the TP most often at your house?, we’ll both be right!


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