Tip 8 | Apologies and Forgiveness

Everyone screws up and most of don’t like to admit when we are the “screwupee.”  Everyone screws up and most of us don’t truly forgive the “screwuper.”

The principal of forgiving is quite simple but often one of the hardest things to do, next to saying sorry.

We forgive because we’ve been forgiven.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

It is common to pretend to be sorry. It is common to pretend to forgive. Most of the time, we men make the worst mistakes. As evidence of our unique ability to screw up we only need to note that the prison population demographic is 90% male. This means men are going to have to say sorry 90% of the time, and women are going to have to forgive 90% of time. Ironically, it has been my experience that men have a harder time saying sorry than forgiving, while women have a harder time forgiving than saying sorry.

A breakdown in communication is the second highest reason given for divorce after infidelity. There are many reasons for a lack of communication but one significant reason is a lack of genuine apology and a lack of genuine forgiveness. It’s tough to be open with someone with whom you have unresolved pain.

What women really need is to be unconditionally loved and to have unconditionally security. This means something slightly different for each woman and it’s our job as men to figure out what unconditional love and security means to her. Hint: it is not ignoring her or social networking with other women.

What guys really need is unconditional respect and unconditional forgiveness for all the stupid guy stuff we do. In our society, respect is earned  but NOT in a successful marriage. Do you want your man to love you when you’ve earned it? So why should he be respected only when he’s “earned” it. I’m highlighting it here because our society is so poor on this point.

Unconditional respect: he chose to spend his life with  you and that is all he needs to do to earn your respect.

Respect can be taking an interest in his interest, being listened too, being sexy, etc. For each guy it can means something slightly different and it’s your job to figure out what that unconditional respect and unconditional forgiveness means. Hint: it is not yelling at him for a poor car purchase or being nasty to him because he offended you three days ago on an entirely unrelated subject. Your husband is going to learn his lessons about bad investments and other poor decisions if you say “That one didn’t work out, but I trust you. You are always trying to do the best for our family.” Now instead of being in conflict, your husband will do 10x the amount of homework before his next decision.