How Being Wrong Can Sometimes Be Right

This is a guest post by Kelly Combs. She is a full-time housewife and mom. She blogs at ChattyKelly. You can also follow her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

The song ended on a sour note. It wasn’t the note that was actually wrong; it was the fact that everyone held the note for a different length of time. We didn’t follow the conductor. This resulted in the droning sound of a hissing snake as everyone stopped on different beats.

Right and Wrong Checkboxes on an Adhesive Note - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #18295430

Photo courtesy of ©

Exasperated, our leader said, “You have to look at me. End when I end. If I’m wrong be wrong with me!” While his last sentence caused me to pause, it made sense.

Even if he ended a beat early or late, if we all ended at the same time no one would notice. If we didn’t follow his cues we wouldn’t make beautiful music, but instead be a cacophony of voices. We had to stay together, even if it meant being wrong together.

This standard can create harmony in life, as well as in music, improving relationships and building trust.

For example:

  1. In Marriage—The Duet: A man was telling friends about the great movie he saw Wednesday night, when his wife interrupted, “No, it was Thursday.” Did it make a difference?

    No, says family expert Kevin Leman. He calls the wife’s interruption combative. Allowing your spouse’s error to go unchecked strengthens the partnership of your marriage, and gives you an opportunity to be wrong together.

  2. In Family—The Ensemble: My daughter came home with a low B on her algebra test. She studied hard with her dad, and I could see the disappointment on her face over the grade. This was not a time to bring up the fact that she could have studied more, or to fill her with platitudes that she would do better next time.

    Instead, I looked over the test and said truthfully, “Wow, this was really hard. I’m not sure I would have gotten a B.” In choosing to empathize with her, and “be wrong with her,” I created camaraderie and collaboration. Then we could brainstorm together some ways to improve her math skills.

  3. In Business—The Symphony: In his post “How Real Leaders Demonstrate Accountability,” Michael Hyatt shared the story of Thomas Nelson division leader Allen Arnold, who took full responsibility for the budget failings his team experienced one month.

    Arnold wasn’t just wrong with his team, but for his team. He used pronouns like “I” and “Me” instead of hiding behind his team (e.g., “we didn’t do such and such”) or blaming others (e.g., “they didn’t do such and such.”). In doing so he built trust and confidence among his employees, and gained the respect of the Executive Team.

This is not a lesson in integrity but in team-building. When someone does the wrong thing morally, we are called to rebuke, correct, and instruct. But in accidental and incidental occurrences, there can be value in being wrong together. When we come together in unison whether in choir, in business or in life, we will find harmony and live a life in concert.

Questions: Have you ever chosen to be wrong with someone? What was the result? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Larry Carter

    I can’t think of particular instances, but I definitely think it is important to stand with your spouse, kids or your team.  Doing otherwise creates distance and separation that isn’t healthy.

    • Justin Wise

      So true. The relational collateral with the folks you mentioned is so much more valuable than appearing “correct.”

  • BillintheBlank


    What a wonderful post! Great insight, especially on the point about marriage. My wife and I have struggled over the years on this point. My oldest daughter now struggles with the same habit of over-correcting. It does take a lot of strength to remain silent — strength I confess I do not always have.

    Why is it we are so quick to alienate ourselves from the one in error when we ourselves are so often the one in error?

    Thnaks again!

    • Kari Scare

      You ask a very important question: Why is it we are so quick to alienate ourselves from the one in error when we ourselves are so often in error? I don’t like my initial answer to this question… to make myself look good by being right. Going to think about this one more.

  • Cyberquill

    If the customer ordered the salmon and then complains when he gets it, insisting he ordered the tuna, then he did order the tuna. People ordered whatever they say they ordered, whether or not it coincides with what they really ordered. The customer is always right. #tipsforaspiringwaiters

  • Chris Patton

    “If I’m wrong, be wrong with me!”

    Though certainly a powerful statement, it would have been easy to overlook the depth of it and remain frustrated with his (possible) mistake.  I am so glad you are so insightful and attentive!  I needed this today!

    There are so many applications here…great post!  Anytime you can cause us readers to carry a thought through the rest of our day (and maybe beyond), you have written a great post.  This is one of those!

    • Kelly Combs

      Chris, you have the gift of encouragement.  Your comments are always specific and encouraging, and as today’s writer I especially appreciate it! Thank you.

      • Chris Patton

        Thanks Kelly! Back at you!

  • chris vonada

    I really liked this Kelly, excellent!

    It reminds me of a saying that I dreamed up once… “winning an argument is absolutely meaningless” … when you think about it, it’s just our pride that’s damaged, but when we are humble and look at the big picture, does it really matter who is right or wrong?

    • Kari Scare

      Two thoughts came to mind when I read your comment. First, my pastor often says, “You can be right or you can have relationship.” Sometimes, being wrong adds meaning to a relationship while being right, as you said, does not. Second, humbleness is key. It is so very hard to be humble, but we are commanded to do so many, many times in scripture. Good point.

    • Kelly Combs

      Thank you Chris.  “Winning an argument is absolutely meaningless,” especially when it cost you a relationship. There is mentoring, and teaching…but there is also grace and mercy.  Thanks for your comment.

  • Joe Abraham

    “Being wrong together” – when taken out of context, that’s bad. But following your point, it does help and is healthy. Good post and examples, Kelly!

    • Kari Scare

      Context is key to accurate understanding, that’s for sure.

      • Joe Abraham

        Yes, Kari. Out of context, anything goes!

        • Kari Scare

          It just occured to me that people like to create their own context, so they can make themselves and what they are doing appear right. May be a bit off topic, but it’s a thought I want to explore for sure.

    • Kelly Combs

      Amen Brother! That is why I made the point of say this isn’t about integrity. We are called to rebuke and correct, but we can also show love, grace and mercy when it isn’t an integrity issue. That is the point of my post.

  • Daren Sirbough

    Thanks for sharing. I remember a team member stepping out in faith doing something wrong. I loved it because it took that team member courage to step out. I took responsibility and said I gave her that responsibility. I took it on the chin and commended the team member. Being wrong was the best thing for that team member that day and same for me.

    • Kelly Combs

      Great application, Daren. Thank you for sharing!

  • elisa freschi

    A marginal question: I seem to remember that whenever a woman guest-posts on your blog, she is always a full-time mom and wife, who writes about family-harmony. Is it an a-priori choice? Are you trying to show how important it is for a family that women take care of their children and husbands?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’d have to go back and check to see if that’s the case. It isn’t conscious. My only focus is on good writing that fits my topic areas.

  • Kari Scare

    Boy is this hard to do! I don’t like to be wrong, and neither does my husband or boys. Yet, I am discovering that being wrong together once in a while is okay, especially when we are not going to agree on what is right anyway. Of course, we’re not talking about moral issues here and lying just to make someone feel better. Being wrong, especially with my husband and sons, is so very dificult but also builds the relationship or at least does not allow a rift, even if it’s small, to happen.

    • Justin Wise

      I find myself saying the same thing to my wife. “I don’t like being wrong!” But then I think to myself, “who DOES like being wrong?!”


      • Kari Scare

        Good question. Yet, somehow, we do need to become okay with it.

  • Mark Mathia

    Kelly what you said makes a lot of sense. It is easy to follow a leader with this level of humility. My son is turning 14 in a day and we are constantly reminding ourselves to give eachother permission to be wrong. (Of course, we go by Dad’s definition) what can I say I am a work in process. Great post!

  • Eileen

    I tend to like to stand in someone’s corner when they make a mistake and are tempted to beat themselves up.  I will share a time I’ve made a similar mistake so they don’t feel like they are alone.  I know that when people have been willing to show their humanness to me, I am encouraged by it.   When we are willing to let people know we’ve screwed up too, it  inspires them to not give up.

  • Tammyhelfrich

    Great post, Kelly. I love the example of the combative spouse. I know I have been guilty of that. Choosing to be wrong can definitely be good sometimes. Thanks for the reminder!

    • pilararsenec

      Yep, I felt convicted too :)

    • Justin Wise

      Tammy … a dear friend of mine once said, “when you’re fighting with your wife, you need to decide if it’s a hill you want to die on.”

      I’ve never forgotten that advice. It has served me well, too ;)

      • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

        Justin – I just have to jump in here and say I love that!  But of course, I AM a wife so I guess I would love it.  And I bet it has served you well.

  • lyndarva

    I totally agree with the spouse correction issue, can be a major issue when someone repeatedly does this. I have seen the same thing happen in business and ministry over and over. In one instance, the manager over the sales staff in two offices repeatedly publicly chastised and corrected the manager over the administrative management in the two offices. They both reported to the same person, they had different jobs, different responsibilities etc. and the administrative manager had the responsibility of keeping budgets, managing the operation of the offices and the administrative personnel. The manager over the sales team blamed the administrative manager for everything he didn’t like. He just didn’t see that working together and understanding both had responsibilities, and made the two offices into war zones.

    I also see this where “friends” correct each other and point out insignificant points of disagreement or think everything they think is absolutely true, without seeing there can be different points of view or that they don’t run the universe. I think a lot of this is a matter of maturity, but then a lot of people use the excuse they can say whatever they want because they are older.

    • TNeal

       My parents did the correction thing so often it made my wife cringe (we who grew up with the constant correcting, I suppose, had tuned it out by adulthood). I have to fight my childhood example in order to “be wrong together.” Kelly’s points are well made and helpful.

  • Katie McAleece

    I really love this concept… The joy of simply laying down your pride. Knowing that being wrong with someone isn’t the end of the world. Choosing harmony instead of being combative.

    So good. Thank you for writing this!

    • Kelly Combs

      You got it Katie! Laying down our pride.  Would you rather be right or happy? Some things are not worth arguing over.

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      Katie – I love how you put it “the JOY” of laying down your pride.  I don’t think in the past I considered it “joy” – for me it was hard to overcome the pride and the need to be right.  But I have “tested” this and you are right -JOY is the result!  I simply have to remember that. 

  • Shelly G

    A very timely message for me on many fronts! Thank you, Kelly.

  • TNeal

    Excellent. You hooked me with your example and raised the question, “Where is this going?” then you delivered a thought-provoking message applicable to real life. Well done.

    • Justin Wise

      Another way of asking that question, I think, is “what’s my motivation here?” Very important question to be asking, especially when you’re engaged in conflict!

      • Kari Scare

        Looking at your motivation really gets to the heart of the issue, and it can be somewhat painful. But, it is oh so necessary and very much under-used these days.

  • Shannon Milholland

    Kelly, what a fantastic post! Some times I find myself wanting to correct my husband over minor details like that. Seriously what is that? Does it even matter? No! Thanks for the reminder!

    • pilararsenec

      I agree with you Shannon, great reminder.

  • Sharon Rose Gibson

    These are such good points. It took me a while to realize that I don’t always have to correct my sister though she exaggerates. :-) We get along better when I simply let those things which don’t really matter go. This is interesting timing because I just wrote a blog post along these lines yesterday about when it’s better not to talk things out.
    I love the way you handled that situation with your daughter by acknowledging her feelings of disappointment. Grace empowers a person to change, especially grace with truth expressed later. Very wise!

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      Sharon – powerful words – “grace empowers a person to change”.  I needed that today for someone in my life.  That I need to extend GRACE – no matter who is wrong or right.  And that grace could empower her to change.  I’m writing that down!

  • Greg L. Gilbert

    This reminds me of a lesson in a course I teach titled “Never miss a good opportunity to shut up!” When my grandson was seven, we built a bench together. I wanted to teach him to use tools. I told him on his next visit, we would paint the bench. I assumed it would be one color. Wrong. He wanted it red, white and blue. I bought the paint, brushes and spread out a small tarp.
    I showed him how to paint without getting too much paint on the other slats of the bench. He began and paint was going everywhere. I stopped him and showed him again. He began again with excitement and paint was going everywhere. I stopped him again and showed him a technique that would keep the paint where you wanted it.
    He began again with excitement and paint was going everywhere. I began reaching for the brush and then it hit me. It was like my hand just froze. Never miss a good opportunity to shut up. Let him paint. He is having fun. Teach the right things as we go along.
    We had a blast. Paint was on him, me and the bench but you know what? The bench looks pretty good.
    Here’s what absolutely scares me to death. What if I had kept on correcting him and he just handed me the brush and said, “Here, Papaw, you can paint it”. How many more times could I have corrected him? I am so thankful I just shut up and didn’t find out. Seven years later, I still smile every time that bench catches my eye in the garage.
    Note: “Never miss a good opportunity to shut up” is also a valuable leadership tool to be used with groups and individuals of all ages.

    • Kelly Combs

      You are a great Papaw, Greg.  Over correction can take the joy out of every project. You made memories that day, in addition to the bench. Thanks for sharing.

      • Cheri Gregory

        One of my favorite authors says, “We do our best sinning when we’re right.” (I’ve adapted this to say that my husband does his best sinning when he thinks he’s right… ;-)

        Love the entire post, but this comment about over correction really hits home.Just as John Gottman says that the positive-to-negative ratio in a marriage needs to be 5:1 (or better), I’m willing to bet that each person has his/her own tolerance level for correction before it becomes over correction.At work, for example, I am quick to interpret any correction as overcorrection when it’s the only feedback I’m getting. In my personal relationships, if I’m already frustrated with someone who “always” corrects me, I’m likely to snap at them even for useful instructions.

        • Kelly Combs

          I’ve also found that if I am already upset with my own performance, and then I get a correction about it, I’m more likely to snap as well…because I am mad at me, not them. But they get it.  

          I know, I know, I’m working on it!

  • Kat

    This prinicple was taught to me years ago in regards to customer service.  The customer is always right, even when they were wrong…and I, in my servant leadership role, to them and to the team I was leading, was to accept responsibility – “blame” as it were – and go the extra mile to make things right.  Learning, leading and listening for the harmony that I am in control of creating.  This post struck a gentle cord in my soul and I am thankful to be starting today with this reminder!  I will be “paying it forward” to my team of emerging leaders tomorrow at a breakfast of champions!  Singing a NEW SONG today – thanks!

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      Kat – so true when dealing with customers.  As I have told my team, it never pays to be combative with your clients – even if they are WRONG!  There are ways to address errors which must be addressed –  but shame and blame will never win you raving fans – and that’s the truth!

  • Tracy Thomas

    Michael, thank you choosing Kelly to be your guest blogger.  I am Kelly’s music minister – the one who “inspired” her to be wrong with me.  I would have never thought making a comment to “be wrong with me” (out of exasperation, no less) would be something that would “inspire” someone to such depth of thought.  But leave it to my good friend, Kelly to dig deep and find such great (and musical!) applications to the rant of a frustrated conductor.  Great job, Kelly, my second chance friend!

    • Kelly Combs

      Thank you, Tracy. And whether or not you know it, you inspire a great many people. They just don’t all write about it. :-)

  • Jason Stambaugh

    I do this quite a bit, however on the backend of the moment, I often gossip about it with my wife or another witness of my “good deed”. Yuck. I’m going to see if I can REALLY be wrong with someone today. 

  • Greg L. Gilbert

    PICOD – Person In Charge Of Disagreeing – I created this acronym a few years ago as my own personal development tool but this affliction is more widespread than I thought. My wife and I joke about it if one of us slips up. “Did you just PICOD me or was that useful information?” Thanks for the blog. Anything to increase each individuals awareness of these nasty habits. It’s as deadly to our attitude as second hand smoke is to our health.  

  • Heidi Kreider

    This is a great post! I grew up watching my grandmother overcorrect my grandfather until there was nothing left of their marriage but the same two people living in the same house. I hate it when I find myself doing this!
    Thanks for the reminder that it doesn’t make a difference!

  • Sandyl

    This was a great post!  I am going to add these points to my family counseling arsenal.  I love the clear concise examples.  This is a great example to defer to others instead of always wanting to be right.

  • Tim Godby

    I apologize for not being terribly original as I join the chorus of others and thank you for this post. I am a musician, husband and father of an angel, so I relate to every aspect. Helpful, affirming and encouraging words these are. Perhaps the next best action point is to subscribe to Kelly’s blog and so I shall.

    • Tracy Thomas

      You won’t be sorry.

  • Dave Anderson

    Kelly this is a great post for competitive people like me.  Sometimes I want to win the argument more than I want a solution.  

    You resonated with me about how important some little facts really are.  I can interrupt to correct the date or time or pronunciation of a word for people in my family.  But who am I really doing it for?  For me!  Sad but true.

    Thanks again.

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      Dave, I am such a competitive person also – and sadly your comment “Sometimes I want to win the argument more than I want a solution” applies to me life more than I like to think.  Thanks for voicing what I was thinking.

  • Dave Bratcher

    What a great message to remind us that we don’t always have to prove we’re right.  True wisdom is knowing when when NOT to talk.  Thank you for allowing Kelly the opportunity to guest blog for you.  @davebratcher

  • Tim Curington

    Excellent post.  Great thought.  I was challenged and encouraged.  Thank you for the insight and helpful reminder of having a TEAM spirit.  I am a church choir director and I have made that very same comment to my choir.  Great truth!

  • Dan Erickson

    I’m a songwriter and musician so I can appreciate this analogy.  As a musician, sometimes our mistakes can lead to successes.  A wrong note or chord can spark new creativity, take a composition in a new, more exciting direction.  The older I get, the less I worry about being wrong, because I have learned that we grow by making mistakes.  The more we grow, hopefully the less we mess up.  However, I would be interested in looking at the flipside of this post:  “What if we’re wrong when we insist we’re right.”  

  • John Richardson

    I’ve shared mistakes over the years with many people, but they are especially useful when working with a mastermind group. Mistakes and failures can be great learning tools if we are willing to learn from them. It’s really nice when you share with a group and you realize you aren’t the only one who has made that particular mistake.

  • Chris Lie

    Hi,    your blog really touches me, have been reading it for awhile…  Just wanted you to know about a website i started…  It’s a place for Bible study guides..  I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device..   I couldn’t find where to contact you privately so I’m commenting,  hope that is okay.  :)  God Bless!   

  • jbledsoejr

    Great post!  I like the Duet example…I’ve been on both sides of that and I agree it is best to be wrong together.  Thanks for sharing this!

  • Susie Jennings

    Last April, our ministry suffered a BIG debt because of an oversight. The staff in the office said the bill was already paid last January, (actually she thought it would be paid, the outgoing treasurer forgot to tell the next treasurer that we still had a big debt,  I was out of town for 6 weeks travelling and I thought it was paid, so I did not follow through.) I took full responsibility in front of our big donor who paid the whole bill. God taught me humility and also being accountable.  I felt good knowing I did the right thing owning the mistake in front of that donor and I learned a lesson, I am a better leader because of the experience.
    We could have a choir singing in harmony and end at the same time vs a discord!

  • Toothy Grins

    I like the whole concept of being wrong ‘together’.  that is a good one for couples to learn as you aptly pointed out by the wife interrupting her husband.  The conductor is correct, someone has to lead and everyone needs to be with the leader.  If not, the end result is a disaster.  

    This is a very good concept.  Thanks for sharing it.

  • Jana Botkin

    Interesting insight, GREAT examples. Thank you, Kelly. Now I will add your blog to my list of things to read.

    • Tracy Thomas

      You will not be sorry!

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    I’m reminded of a time when someone I know was almost hit by a car running a stop light.  They said “….if I hadn’t stopped, they would have plowed into me and it would have been THEIR fault….” to which I responded, “Well, that could have made you DEAD right!” 

    I think of the times in my own life where it was more important to be dead right than to have a peaceful life.  The ego was upfront and confrontational in every circumstance – wanting to prove my “rightness” and someone else’s wrongness. 

    I thank God -literally – for His hand on and in my life – and that He is still working on me in this regard!  I have been leaning particularly on the book of Proverbs in this war against that enemy called “pride”.  One of my favorite scriptures “Pride goes before destruction,And a haughty spirit before stumbling”. 

    Power post – thank you for sharing your wisdom with us on this first day of June.

    • Kelly Combs

      I love your example Louise, as I know people who would rather be dead right, than wrong. May I follow God’s example of mercy and grace, because he is always right, yet forgives us when we are wrong.

  • pilararsenec

    This is a really great post.  I enjoyed reading it.  I related to what you wrote as well. 

  • Lily Kreitinger

    I loved this post Kelly!  It is so true. You can build someone up by choosing not to be critical or self-righteous.  There are many times when “being wrong” really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life.  I need to learn to ask myself “Is this going to matter five years from now?”  Most of the time, the answer is “No”.

  • Marlee

    Hey Kelly,

    I love the marriage example. Soooo on point. So many marital relationships would be healthier if people just extended more grace!

    • Jim Martin

      Marlee, your last sentence is so important.  You are right.  In fact, far too often, we will extend more grace to those outside our family than to our own family members.  Thanks for this reminder.

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    I always find it interesting when several blogs, quotes, e-mails, or conversations with people, have the same message on the same day.  I usually think God is trying to get my attention on a topic.  Today’s “Notes to Inspire” from Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why”:

    “We are only in charge
    when we are willing to let others take charge.”God must REALLY want me to get this message today!  

  • Shannon Steffen

    Sadly, I didn’t realize until now that I was being “combative” with people when I correct them as to when something happened or add the correct detail to their discussion. I realize now that I do this a lot. All this time, I assumed it was because I am a perfectionist (something I am working on). Now I see how it can be taken as combative.

    It really makes no difference as to the correct detail unless the entire conversation hinges on the detail. Otherwise, it’s just an annoying interruption and disrespectful mannerism.

    Thanks, Kelly! I really needed this kick in the pants to open my eyes.

    • Marella

      Shannon, I agree with you that correcting an unimportant detail is disrespectful, especially in front of others.  If something someone said really needs to be corrected, it should be done privately.  There are occasions when a detail does need to be corrected such as when it would have detrimental consequences, but most of the time this is not the case.  

  • JaysonFeltner

    I really like the first example.  If we asked ourselves “does it really matter” we’d let ourselves fail more often for the right reasons.

  • Tim Curington

    Ecellent post!  Great thought.  I am a church choir director and I have used that same statement with my choir.  I was challenged and encouraged by reading this.  Two thumbs up!

  • Michael Nichols

    Wow Kelly – I appreciate your thought-provoking post. I am going to work at being wrong (together) more often.

    Michael, Thanks for allowing Kelly to post.

  • RebeccaLivermore

    Great post, Kelly! I strongly believe in the concepts you presented here. I think it is especially important for people who work together, whether in ministry or business of some sort to present a united front publicly. I don’t mean to be fake, but to express any differences in private rather than publicly disagreeing. 

    • Jim Martin

      Great point Rebecca.  In many situations, the best thing that we can do is to express differences in private, eliminating unnecessary embarrassment.

  • TorConstantino

    Kelly, this is a fantastic post and great insight! I especially love your application of it across a spectrum of relationships – intimate and public, personal and professional. Great lesson!!!

  • Troy Dandrea

    Phenomenal insight and heart, Kelly! I’m with a team of 4 planting a church in Flagstaff & this is a certain reminder we need to employ as we serve the Lord here together. Lines right up with God’s Word and heart for us to seek peace with one another (Rom 12:18), ignore certain “corrections” (Pr 12:16), be peacemakers (Pr 15:1; Mat 5:9), and sincerely be unified & love each other (Jn 17:23). Thanks for sharing Kelly!

    • Kari Scare

      Really like how you put scripture to this Troy. Looks like a 3-point sermon that way :-)

    • Kelly Combs

      Great application, Troy. Thank you!

  • Geoff Johnson

    Your post and some of the follow-up comments made me think of Priscilla and Aquila who were “wrong together” with Apollos in public rather than put at damper on his bold speaking about Jesus in the synagogue, as recorded in Acts 18:24-26. But then privately they explained the Christian way more accurately. How much healthier would the body of Christ be if we all treated one another with such grace even in matters of doctrine (such as baptism — apparently the issue in which Apollos needed instruction).

    • Kelly Combs

      I love this application Geoff. Thanks for sharing it, and for visiting my post!

  • Rajdeep Paulus

    I *BIG HEART* this POST!! Hubby and I are speaking of “Forgiveness” at a marriage group this Sunday. Can’t wait to share some of this Blog with the other couples. Also love the musical metaphors. I love music and when I think of how often I step on my hubby’s toes, and the fact that he still chooses to ask me to dance… Just celebrated our 14th! Looking forward to many more… with a lot more focus on grace and less on being right. :)

    • Kelly Combs

      Happy Anniversary! Best wishes on your marriage group this week.

  • Jeremy Carver

    Great post!  I use this phrase quite often:  “You can either be right or you can be happy.”  This is true in marriage, family, & business so long as it isn’t a moral wrong.

  • donnapyle

    Kelly, I love musical metaphors. They translate relationships in such a powerful way – especially in our spiritual walk. Thanks so much for your words here today.

  • Hessfamily

    Thank You!  Real meat here, and we’re enjoying the results as we consume!! 

  • Rocco Capra

    Great thoughts here! I really need to take that first one to heart!!

  • KDayBlog

    I love this post. It has caused a “light bulb” moment in me. I am thinking about my son who has recently begun to enthusiastically point out every time I say something wrong. I wonder, did he learn that from me? Time for me to change and set the example of being “wrong together” I think. Thank you!

    • Jim Martin

      Your comment reminded me that some of the most irritating tendencies that I saw in my daughters (as they were growing) were sometimes behaviors they had first seen in me.

  • Leah Adams

    Kelly, what a wonderful post. I had never thought of it consciously like that, although I try to do it much of the time.

  • Sungyak

    This applies a lot to my youth ministry at church. Showing the kids love and patience is sometimes more ‘right’ than sternly correcting their ‘wrong’ misunderstandings.

  • Margaret

    Love the Marriage example. When spending time with a couple, you definitely notice when the duet is off beat.

  • Brian Hinkley

    Good post!

    I find when I’m retelling a story, I say something like ” It was Wednesday or Thursday, I don’t really remember, but it’s not important for the point of my story”

    Either way…

    My wife and I both find ourselves correcting each other on small details and later receiving the disapproving evil eye because of  it.

    • Jim Martin

      Brian, I have found myself in conversation with my wife and suddenly realize that I am correcting her over the silliest matter.  Not good.  Thanks.

  • David Peterson

    The greatest right we have is the right to give up our rights.  My wife and I often have different memories about when somthing happened. I found arguing over insignificant details harmful to an otherwise productive discussion. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (ESV).

  • Jim Martin

    Kelly, this is a very good post.  I like the way you frame each one of these examples.  This is helpful.

  • Julie Swihart

    Wow! What a great post. I’m impressed by the writing, format and content. Thank you for helping me grow.

    I’ve been wrong with the music team I used to lead at church. Since I was the leader, I took responsibility for helping the team be fully prepared and informed, and they respected me for it. When I had to occasionally confront a team-member one-on-one over interpersonal conflict issues, they were open because they knew I had their back.

  • KC

    Great post Kelly.  Reminds of the point that Jesus make about removing the plank in your own eye before pointing out the speck in your brothers eye.  I mess up all the time and my wife is always gracious and if I need corrected (usually with grammar, lol) it’s in private not in front of people. 

    • Kelly Combs

      Private correction is the best. Another reader referenced Acts 18:24-26 as an example of private correction. Thanks for sharing KC. (Which by the way, is a nickname of mine as well for Kelly Combs).

      • KC

        Awesome KC! lol Have a great weekend!

  • annepeterson

    Kelly, thanks for your post, though it was a painful reminder of what I used to think was my  responsibility for a long time. I remember one day being surprised when I held my tongue and he caught the mistake himself. I loved how you called it being “wrong together.”

    • Kelly Combs

      Thanks Anne. I too am guilty of this. I think writers tend to write about areas where we are growing. 

  • Brandon Freeman

    Sometimes we have to swallow our know-it-all self and acknowledge the leader or the team is right (or more right).  I know that’s hard for me. However, even if I am more “right” in my position technically, the
    synergy of a cohesive team is almost always more powerful than an individual’s
    highest abilities.  Thanks for the post.

  • Thelmac

    I think this is callled wit.  Also a bit of knwing what to say when needed.

  • Hprarson25

    I am a novice photographer. Last weekend, a gentleman asked to borrow my camera as I was busy doing something else at the event. He took several pictures and later I took a few. As my best friend and I started going through the pictures on the camera, she called the gentleman over to tell him thanks for such great pictures. He joined us we continued viewing the pictures. Suddenly my best friend saw a pictures that were stunning…pictures I took! She looked at him and said, “You took these? “Yes!” he said. As I was about to correct him, I suddenly felt the need to shut my mouth and let him take credit for what I had done. Wow! It felt good seeing someone else smile, receive a hug and a pat on the shoulder. I realized at that point that my need for self exaltation was worthless and it pales in comparison to the smile on that man’s face in response to my best friend’s excitement regarding the picture. It’s not about me; rather, it’s about others!

    • Kelly Combs

      I love that story. Thank you for sharing it. I know you made that gentlemen’s day, and YOU know you took the photos so you too could delight in the friend’s comments without bursting the man’s bubble. Great job of being wrong with someone!

  • PriscillaRichter

    I needed this too, thanks so much.

    I’m reminded of one of my favorite tv commercials — the waitress who is bringing cereal to a table of folks, asking who ordered the yummy cereal and who ordered the low cholesterol cereal. It is all the same cereal.

    As she passed the bowls out, people looked confused and started to swap bowls. She says, in a  disarming manner, with a smile, ‘Oh, I got that all wrong, didn’t I?’

    Responding with grace is something I need to do more of. 

  • Lisa Nelson

    Sometimes to keep the peace with family, “be wrong with me” is a smoother road. But only when it comes to things that really don’t matter. Things that wont even be remembered the next day. Reminds me of that book that was out awhile ago called “dont sweat the small stuff”.

    It doesn’t happen often, but I think we have all been there.

  • Marella

    One time a friend at my church called to ask if it would be OK if her mother-in-law could come to the Wednesday night prayer service at our church dressed in pants.  Her MIL was visiting and had not brought a dress with her.  At that time in my church’s history, none of the women wore pants.

    I told my friend that of course her MIL could come to prayer meeting dressed in pants.  No one would judge her and I hoped that she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable wearing pants.  

    I knew what I had to do and changed my clothes into pants before going to church.  My friend, her husband, and MIL noticed and deeply appreciated the show of support.  The MIL and I were “wrong” together.

    • Kelly Combs

      I love that Marella! What a gift you gave to your friend’s MIL. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  • Katia Kantzia Vas

    Thank you Kelly for the wonderful post! Thank you for validating what I have learned from my parents and have been doing all my life, althought this is not appreciated by those who think we should be blondly honest all the time. Overcorrecting and arguing about insignificant points does create friction, not only in relationships but within as well, making
    us “combative”, as you said, and argumentive, stealing peace and silence from our souls and our lives.

  • kimanzi constable

    This is a great post and some great lessons Kelly, way to go! I especially like what you point out with the husband and wife dynamic, it’s so true! I’m working on thiS ASAP!

  • teckdeck2008

     Most of the time I agree with the concept here, but I also believe that disagreement mentioned in a respectful way is a good thing.  I can remember back to my childhood when my parents would have a same situation as the grade example and they would respectfully let me know that I could do better next time.  Don’t get me wrong, they appreciated the effort I put in and knew that I did good; but them letting me know that I could have done better has instilled that idea that there is always someone better than me and that there is always room for improvement.  Respectful disagreement is a good thing in my opinion when it comes from the right person, is done for the right reason and is used in the right situation.

    • Kelly Combs

      I agree that a push is sometimes needed. However, in my case, my daughter is a perfectionist who beats herself up over any grade that is not 100%.  She has made A honor roll all year, and did even with the B on this test.  In this instance, she needed grace. 

      John Rosemond, parenting expert, puts it this way regarding praising effort (which my daughter had) versus  ability.

      “I recently came across a study showing that when adults praise ability, performance actually worsens. Praising effort, on the other hand, raises performance over time. This is the difference between telling a child he’s really good at math and telling a child you’re proud of how much effort he put forth studying for the math test (irrespective of his grade). Over time, the former child’s math grades are likely to go down, while the latter child’s go up. ”

      Here is his article in entirety if you’d like to read it:

  • Michaelholmes Mh

    Being wrong sometimes be right because it reminds us of our limitations and that we cannot be right every time. When things go wrong, we can never blame anyone because no one can be perfectly wrong. We have a hand on everything that’s happening.

  • Matthew Reed

    Letting someone else get credit for work or thoughts you’ve contributed when no harm is done by it. For instance, in my pastoral work, things I had said would be said back to me attributed to another pastor. No need in flexing my ego there.

  • PastorDaveStone

    Hi Kelly, just got to read your blog.  very practical and helpful to me as a parent and as a husband.  Loved your comment about looking over the test and saying, “Wow, this is tough, not sure i would have done very well on it either.”
    Great empathy…and i can tell that you know when to encourage, empathize and also challenge.

    • Kelly Combs

      Thank you Pastor Dave!  My kids might say I’m better at the challenge than the empathy, but I am working on it.  Have a great day, and thanks for reading!

  • Circles Evansville

    Great insight, thanks for sharing

  • tayshaojie

    This is a wonderful post. Often, making mistakes in front of the people you trust can form tightly knitted relationships because they know that you are vulnerable too and that can connect on a deep level.

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  • Mary Kennedy

    I appreciate the wisdom of “being wrong together” when it appropriate.  I saw the     “In and Out” ad and decided to check out your beliefs.  Spending some time reading articles posted there has been a blessing.  Thank you and may the Lord continue to use His followers at The Crossroads Church to make a difference in Anthem. 

    My husband and I are believers and are active members of another evangelical church.