Matthew Lickona 12:01 p.m., May 24
- Community Blog
- A day in the life....of a thought-filled wife.
Love, The Art of Apology, and The Grace of Acceptance.
Steve and I have been married for quite a while.....and as most who have married, you know there are times that can be tough, loud, angry or trying.
A friend posted on a thread of mine that "You and your husband are truly an inspiration of what marriage should be." I thought that was one of the nicest compliments anyone could ever get.....and am honored to have received such a nicety.
I thought about it and wondered what we do, that helps us get through the roughest times.....sure we love each other and have a mutual respect....but as everyone else, we have our times. We do argue.
We always say "I love you." no matter what... We don't withhold that love from each other. Love is not a convenience or a weapon...to be used on one another like a sharp edged knife. When things get to that point, it's time to think....Will this bring a positive response? Is this a valuable statement? Will it help us resolve the issue?
So we do our best not to offend and use words that are just plain foolish and unproductive.....but like most people you say things you really don't mean, and we know, that when heated, words can be volleyed back and forth, that really have no real meaning other than frustration. At which point we both tend to walk away and think before we speak.....
But on the rare occasion, that a word or frustration gets past......The one thing I have learned and the most important thing I have learned.....Is the art of the apology.
Most people, simply say "I'm Sorry." But truly, that is a state of being. You know...."I know you're sorry, now apologize." And to make matters worse....add the excuse to the mix.
I'm sorry but I was angry and I just couldn't help it......hmmmmm. Really? I'm 47, I can help it. I am responsible for my own actions....I have no strings attached to me, nor do I have someone feeding me lines to say......so I can't give that excuse.
And I certainly will not give a backhanded apology either. You know the kind." I'm sorry your feelings got hurt." Not that they are sorry for hurting your feelings, but that they got hurt...not that they said hurtful things but, well you get the picture. Placing it all on the person that was hurt.
Steve and I talked about this, many years back, and whenever we needed to say "sorry" we actually sit down and look at one another, directly, and talk with respect....even for something as little as me being a grouch in the morning.....which Steve can be assured, that is the way I wake most mornings...I will apologize.
I simply look him in the eyes and say Steve, "I want to apologize for being so grouchy towards you this morning, I was wrong. And you didn't deserve it." and he accepts graciously, without beating me up with words of condemnation....... and vice versa.....he gives me the same sincere, respectful apologies.....On occasion he has said, "I know you're tired"...to which I respond..."No excuse for the behavior." An excuse, more often than not, can nullify the apology. So I do my best not to make excuses.
(Sometimes I will throw in, "but really you do deserve it." , usually with a giant Cheshire cat grin, an equally giant hug and I love you. Which makes him smile....)
A person can say "I love you." all day, everyday....but without the balance of apologizing properly and with sincerity, all the I love yous in the world can't make a relationship work. The action of admitting where we went wrong....always helps. It's okay to be wrong. It doesn't make or break you. But it can destroy a relationship, if you can't or won't own up to it.
Every story has a beginning, middle and an ending.....so should every disagreement. It's just understanding, that once the apology is made and accepted....it's over.
We've always move forward with an affectionate touch, hug or kiss, and that lets us know that all is well.......we are not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.....but, we do have a great respect for each other.
Even in the most difficult of times.
God Bless, J.