etween the two of us, Adam is a much better apologizer. He’s much quicker to seek resolution than me and deeply desires to resolve conflict. I find that I tend to sit in my pride and justification for why I think I’m right longer than I ever should. The thing is, the longer I make up self-gratifying excuses for why I’m right, the more bitterness and resentment begin to plague my heart.
Pride is scary that way. It can embed its claws into any crevice it can find and the longer we allow it to fester, the more deviously it tightens and secures its hold. Holding onto this mentality is the quickest way to sever a marriage relationship.
For some strange reason, we tend to find safety and security in our pride. Letting go is scary. The crazy part is that the only way to bring harmony and unity is by letting go of our pride. When we let go of our pride, we find humility, gentleness, and understanding.
In an argument, the most important thing we can remember is that it isn’t us against our spouse. It’s us, as a team, against the enemy. The enemy WANTS us to see our spouse in a negative light and cling to our pride.
So, how do we fight the enemy as a team when we are upset with one another? What’s the secret weapon?
Taking responsibility and apologizing.
This seemingly simple step acts as a catalyst, dismantling pride, bringing clarity, and producing unity.
What is an apology?
This may seem like a silly question, but an apology is much more than saying “I’m sorry”. “I’m sorry” is too casual and can be said without meaning and with passivity.
A heartfelt apology says “I’m sorry for ____________. Will you forgive me?”. This model for an apology names the hurt caused and it requires an answer from your spouse, engaging in the process as a team. This also requires a gentle, humble spirit from the person apologizing, which will quickly ease tensions.
An apology shows that you care more for your marriage than for yourself.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
Honestly, it isn’t important to BE right. The most important thing is to be unified. It’s through apologizing that you can begin mending the fences and refilling the grace bucket.
An apology says “I understand that I hurt you”.
An apology fully understands the hurt that was caused and is genuinely repentant. A lot of times, all our spouse is searching for is understanding…that we understand their perspective and see how something has impacted them.
Be the first one to apologize.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
This doesn’t mean that we ignore issues or hide from conflict, but it does mean that we need to first look inward and be above board. Bringing issues to light and talking through feelings is vital, but we must first strive to have our hearts in a place of repentance and reconciliation.
Rather than looking at what your spouse has done wrong, how they have hurt you, or how right you are, take a step back. Choose to self reflect, come at the conflict seeking to understand, and apologize for what you need to.
This doesn’t mean that we ignore our feelings or that we shouldn’t address issues, but it does mean that we need to get our hearts in the right place, own what’s ours to own, and embrace a mindset of grace.
Is there any area where you need to ask forgiveness from your spouse today? What would happen to your marriage if you and your spouse both took on this mentality?