Even in the (almost) 2 months that we've been married we're learning that it's TOUGH! Thank goodness we were prepared with lots of great pre-marital advice and we continue to be blessed with amazing support and godly counsel, which I'm beginning to realize is the best wedding gift you could ever receive.
But over the course of the last few weeks God has very clearly shown me what His wedding gift to us was. Now it's not salvation (because you don't have to be married to receive that), and it's not the fact that we get to bless each other in the bedroom (children close your eyes), it's quite different than anything I ever would have thought of.
Marriages in God's eyes are made to be healing, edifying, and humbling, because how else are we to be made holy really? So God gave us the ability to apologize.
If you think about it apologizing is one of the QUICKEST ways to show your spouse that you're willing to drop your pride and put your emotions in check in order to honor them. Talk about HUMBLING! And then when you're the one that's hurting, how amazing of a feeling is it to know that your spouse is willing to do the same for you?
When we hold grudges, snap at each other, or refuse to see our responsibility in the cause of an argument all we're doing is hurting each other even more and when this goes on for days, weeks, and years at a time little teeny tiny problems never get resolved or healed and turn into BIG problems.
Learning how to apologize has really been a big blessing to us as we adjust to living together and working closely together most of the time. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I like to hear my husband say he's wrong, but when he humbles himself in front of me and God and says sorry there's a big part of me that knows how difficult it is to even say the words and is comforted that he's taking such a big risk for me, and then there's a part of me that's proud of him because it's a sign that he's growing and learned something.
Every time I apologize to him not only do I feel closer to him than ever before, but I feel like I've grown too. You can't grow and learn without practice, though. And as much as it sucks, you can't practice apologizing until you've put yourself in the hole somehow... which is somewhere we all strive to stay out of. Don't go starting fights or hurting each other, but the next time it happens here are some of my personal tips to remember:
1. Only apologize when you're genuinely sorry for what you've done or said. It's the same as lying if you're not being real.
2. Apologize as quickly as possible for the two of you. The longer the hurt sits, the harder it will be. Or the problem will fester under the surface until something else happens.
3. Name what you're apologizing for. If you just say "sorry" it doesn't signify to the other person that you even know what you did to cause the hurt. Make sure they know that YOU know where you went wrong.
4. Make eye contact or gentle physical contact while apologizing! It's tough! I know! But it helps. And admit it, you would want the same thing.
5. No BUTS about it! I'm a firm believer that it's not a real apology if you try to justify it. It's okay to explain your actions or why you felt or reacted the way you did, BUT (haha) never give the lame old "I'm really sorry for doing this and saying this, BUT YOU did this and this and this and so I did what I did." It's not a real apology if it includes a "BUT". Just saying.
With barely two months under my belt I know I am nothing near a relationship expert. But as soon as I started viewing the ability to apologize as God's wedding gift to us my perspective changed. What if we weren't able to apologize? We would live our lives really trying to build thick skin because there's no way someone could ask for a marriage mulligan. There would be tension, bitterness, and hurt that all have no outlet. Don't take for granted the fact that YOU can heal people with the very same tongue you may have used to hurt them, whether intentionally or not. Use the gifts that God has given you. Learn to apologize and it will open the door for a stronger relationship for both of you over time.
Careless words stab like a sword,
but the words of wise people bring healing. -Proverbs 12:18