why my wife is never wrong
March 28, 2009 5 Comments
“Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground” Noah Webster
Noah Webster was an American lexicographer, textbook offer, spelling reformer, word enthusiast, and editor. He has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” In the United States, his name has become synonymous with dictionaries, especially the modern Miriam Webster dictionary that was first published in 1828 as An American Dictionaries of the English Language.
More importantly, he was a husband to Rebecca Greenleaf.
You see, within Webster’s Dictionary lies a secret greater than the Da Vinci Code, The Bible Code, and the secret of the Holy Grail all mixed up in one. It is a warning that has been placed beneath the eyes of every man that is familiar with his great name. It is a gift that was purposely hidden inside a piece of random organized literature that would be sure to inhabit every household under the sun. Its survival is crucial if marriages are to survive. The secret has been right under your eyes, waiting for you claim it as your own.
It is simply known as “The Fourth Definition”
Allow me to explain. I have a friend at work. We like to talk about awesome stuff like music, movies, history, theology, politics, and the fact that he’s usually wrong about everything. The greatest parts of our conversation are that they usually come from opposite views. He’s younger and I’m older. He likes Oldies and I like Modern Music. He’s a scholar, I am an artist. I am spiritual and he is not-so-much. I am a Republican and he’s a Democrat. I am… … I think you get the point.
As you can imagine, most of these conversations appear to have one focus; to prove who is right, and who is wrong. Inevitably we will quibble over each other’s perspectives searching for holes that will disprove one side or the other. Occasionally we will narrow it down to an understanding of a word, which of course leads us to Noah’s book of secrets.
This is where the mystery unfolds.
Amazingly, there are usually three very strong definitions to prove one of our opinions; but then there’s always the chance of the appearance of “The Fourth Definition”. It is the definition that exists to give the opposing side of the argument a way to get out of the discussion without having to completely surrender their point of view.
Or as Ron Burgundy would say, “agree to disagree.”
I notice “The Fourth Definition” kind of “rides the fence”. It allows two people to have a different opinion be right about the same thing. It teaches us that there’s more than one way to look at something. It shows us that one thing can serve two people differently. “The Fourth Definition” is a conflict resolution, consensus, and a chance for peaceful coexistence. It is a constant reminder of understanding and validation.
But there is a catch.
To make the secret work for us we have to remember the inclusion of admiration in our dialog. One thing I did not mention about my friend at work is that both of us have a great respect for each other’s thoughts and opinions. We allow each the time to speak and ensure that our setting is conducive to a productive conversation. We speak to each other with regards to others’ feelings and we validate each other’s opinions regardless of our views. Sometimes we concede, sometimes we agree to disagree, but we always remain friends.
Now think about our wifes.
Think about some things it takes to run a household, to raise a family, and to mature in a relationship. Think about all the different ways there are to define words like love, respect, discipline, rearing, honesty, sexuality, sensuality, communication, listening, teamwork, the list goes on. What is it that would allow us, as a married couple, to be able to speak about all these things and come to an agreement when each of us come from such a different background and have experienced such different things? How can we honestly think that there is a snowball’s chance in hell that we could ever get past our differences and be successful in our family lives?
Noah knew, and now we do too.
Being a successful husband has absolutely nothing to do with being right, and everything to do with you being upright. Leadership does not come from knowing yourself, but from understanding the wife that you are supposed to lead. A wife does not follow a man that thinks he can do no wrong. A wife follows a man that thinks, so he can do what’s right.
One of the most important thing that we can do for our marriages is institute “The Fourth Definition” into our decision-making process. Don’t get me wrong, if we feel strongly about something, we can find the right time, in the right arena, to respectfully discuss our stance. We should be relentless when it comes to offering the direction needed to strengthen your relationship through understanding, but don’t forget the admiration that belongs in our explanation. You are speaking to a friend, a partner, and a lover that is on your side whether or not they share your perspective.
There’s isn’t any way to figure out the right decision for both of you if you don’t listen to the way that she defines the words you are talking about.
So, you may ask, “Why do you trust a guy that penned the dictionary for insight on a happy marriage?
Noah Webster also got caught saying, “The Bible must be considered as the great source of all the truth by which men are to be guided in government as well as in all social transactions”
Well let’s just say… It looks like he had a dictionary of his own.