Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How do you say "I'm sorry"?

"I'm sorry."

Probably the two hardest words for me to express verbally to my husband.

Couple that with a difficulty to also say "I forgive you" and we can sometimes find ourselves at an impasse.

When Kris and I have a "heated" discussion, I will readily admit that the majority of the time, it is Kris who does the apologizing.  It isn't a stubbornness.  It isn't because I am not sorry.  It isn't because I haven't recognized the enemy at work in our relationship.  I am not sure that I can even put words to it, except to say that I find it extremely difficult to verbally, with my words, tell Kris "I'm sorry."

I will sit, my body language saying everything but "I'm open and willing to work this out."  See the couple in this picture below?  THIS is what I'm talking about.  This is an example of this type of body language that tells Kris "Houston, we have a problem."

That need to turn away is instinctive.

It's a protective device I have somehow taught myself over the years.

It is a flinch, so to speak.

I turn away, when there is conflict.

Our body language can speak volumes.

Kris knows that if I am turned away from him, I am likely upset.

It might be anger.

It might be sadness.

It might be fear.

It might be to shield my tears from him, though this doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to.  Tears are just a part of who I am now.  Part of the sinner Christ redeemed.  Tears are a good thing, which I will write about soon.

But regardless, Kris knows.  I am making a statement by turning away.  I don't do it on purpose, but I notice that it is something I instinctively do.  It is my way of communicating that there is something wrong and Kris had better fix it.  At least, at the time, it is what I am saying, intentional or not.

It is amazing to me how far Kris and I have come in our relationship.  It has been seven months now since I came home.

Since I chose to stay.

Since I chose to fight for our marriage.

Since I chose to love.

We still have these times of tension, specifically in our van.  My safe haven.  My place that I can feel at peace, with JoyFM on the radio, the songs a message from my God, telling me that I am loved.  It makes me angry when I think about Satan entering my van.  I wish I recognized it as easily in my house, but for now, I have to be content with my eyes at least being open in my van.

In the past, when those moments of tension would arise, I would physically feel this urge to unbuckle and literally throw myself out of my moving van.  My battle with depression is just that.  It's a battle.  And I used to have this thought quite often.

Just like my instinct to turn away from Kris during conflict, I used to want to run.  To jump.  To get away as fast as I could from the anger, from the pain, from the hurt.  I am thankful to God that when He redeemed me, He took that desire from me.  That desire and thought to throw myself out of my moving van has not entered my mind in seven months.

But, because I am human still, it is a part of my nature to turn away.

To protect myself.

To shelter my heart.

And when the conflict is winding down, I struggle to say "I'm sorry."  Sometimes I am sorry immediately.  And I fight within myself to say it.  Writing is so much easier.  Perhaps I should carry around a chalkboard like the man in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (great book and movie by the way!).  That way, when I realize that there is an apology owed, I can just write it down.  The words escape me.  I think them in my head.  And yet I cannot speak them.

It is the same when Kris apologizes and I know that I need to acknowledge it and say "I forgive you."  If I could just have some way, some signal that speaks it for me, it would ease the tension.

I haven't yet figured out how to overcome this.

Does anyone else struggle with this?


  1. I'm the exact same way. There is something about those two little words...I just have trouble saying them. :(

  2. I'm not surprised Amanda. :) I would really have no trouble writing them. It isn't about being humbled and just saying it. Something prevents me from SAYING the words. What???? I don't get it.

  3. I am always the one to say "I'm sorry". Trying to placate, to stop the judgment and the pain. It is difficult to accept that someone besides me would be at fault.

    1. It sounds like the devil has fed you the lie that it is all your fault for quite some time. I'll be praying for you, and for your husband as you work this your own struggles.

  4. My only thought and comment is that I apologize for MY behavior for myself, not the other person. If I am in the wrong with word, thought, deed or silent body language then "I" must be responsible for apologizing. Saying I'm sorry doesn't not necessarily mean I'm wrong, you're right. It does however mean I did not behave as Jesus would have me behave.