Photo by James Hose Jr on Unsplash
Ah, the menu of pride rice and pride chicken.
I have seen couples clash because the offender doesn’t admit his or her mistakes. Meantime, the offended stews silently in unresolved hurts. When you sense resentment, coldness or outright defiance in your relationship, chances are there is some emotional pain somewhere that was left to fester.
Now there are many useful resources that deal with conflict management. But when you are happy and secure in a romantic God, you are free and empowered to do the right thing.
Specifically, when you are wrong, you can extend apologies. I have seen people who have hurt someone and said something like this: “Why should I apologize when I have done nothing wrong?”
Well, this is my response, “The fact that someone was hurt proves that you have done something wrong.” My advice is that even if you think it’s not your fault, you need to acknowledge the hurt by saying “I’m sorry.” It will also help defuse the anger and make reconciliation easier.
Is this difficult to do? It is if you are focused on what you think rather than what God thinks. You may feel that saying sorry will diminish you.
But your worth and identity is not in you. It’s in God. Your ego is safe with God. With nothing to defend, you are free to humble yourself and tell your partner “I am sorry.”
Do you want to prosper? Here’s a thought: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper. But whoever confesses and renounced them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Take a closer look. It says confess and renounce. It is not enough to admit your wrongdoing. Many people say “I’m sorry” to get it over with. They feel the tension, the anger. So to escape that discomfort, they say “Oh sorry na” and expect things to go back the way they were before.
But you have to know why you are sorry. Otherwise you will just repeat the wrong behavior. Then expend effort to change your behavior. You don’t do it again.
I entered marriage with a lot of bad habits. One of them is that I tend to roll my eyes. When my darling wife Lucy says something I disagree with, I roll my eyes. And Lucy will tell me how offended she was. I was subtly telling her “Oh you’re so dumb… What were you thinking?” And it hurts her. Do I tell her I’m sorry? Yes. But it’s not enough. See, I get sick and tired of saying sorry again and again. In due time, so will Lucy.
So why not remove that behavior in the first place? When I became conscious of rolling my eyes, I can feel the impulse and stop it just right before it happens. At first, I fail from time to time. It’s an ingrained behavior which I have to substitute with a face that connotes patience.
It’s a simple example. But I do my best on more serious offenses like raising my voice, interrupting Lucy while she is speaking, blaming her for something, being cranky and so on.
Do I do it because I love her and prove it by not hurting her? Of course. But on a deeper basis, I do it because I love God and prove it by not hurting Him. After all, God has done nothing but goodness to me. Why shouldn’t I be good to the woman He had given me?
Am I being super-spiritual? No, I am just being a wretched sinner saved by grace. So when you are wrong, don’t be afraid to apologize. And if you need to change, take it positively.
Remember, your ego is safe with God.
This article first appeared in the author’s Facebook page. See it here.
Nelson T. Dy is an author and speaker on career, relationships and spirituality issues. He has written ten books to date, including How to Mend a Broken Heart, The Honeymoon Never Ends, and How Do I Know “The One”? For more of his insights, visit his website www.nelsontdy.com.
He and his wife, the wonderful Lucy Cheng Dy, have been married for 15 years.