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What About Apologizing?

By Michael and Donna Martin -

The Presidential Election is over and Facebook has been swamped with comments from both sides.  Some ecstatic and pleased with the victory others dismayed about the future of our country for the next four years.

These comments caught our attention, “Can’t we just get over this divisiveness and just start working together again?” and “Can’t we just get over this and move on?”

The answer to this question is:  It can be done, but it is very difficult.

The problem is that most people cannot just get over something overnight – especially when there have been lies, strong language, moral disintegration, Biblical principles ignored, no compromises, personal attacks, and both sides blaming the other for the mess that has been created.  We have seen these things happen in our country, but the sad thing is the same things are happening in many marriages.

In our marriages sometimes one or both spouses lie, use strong language, exhibit moral disintegration, ignore Biblical principles that they have been taught, fail to compromise, personally attack the other spouse, and blame the other spouse for their unhappiness.

Couples who experience marital conflict often ask the same questions, “Can’t we just get over this divisiveness and just start working together again?” or “Can’t we just get over this and move on?”  The problem with “Just getting over it” is that most of the time the conflict has not been completely resolved.  One person may “just get over it” but the other person may be wounded or resentful and eventually love is lost and they give up on the relationship.

One person may be overpowering the other and demands that they just get over it because he/she thinks he/she is right and the other is wrong and cannot understand why the other person cannot just get over it and forget it.  Another person may be being abused verbally, emotionally, or physically and they say let’s just get over it because they can’t take it anymore.  They say things like “ok, that’s enough, stop, I’ll do what you want me to do.  Let’s just get through this. Let’s just get over this.”

In both of these examples the problem has not been resolved.  One or both persons still feel hurt, disrespected, and unloved.

Conflicts are a part of all marriages, but when a conflict is over, if both people feel good, then the conflict was probably resolved properly.  However, if one person still feels badly, then probably the conflict was not resolved and that person really cannot “get over it.”

What do you think would happen in our county if our national leaders came together and said to each other and the country, “I am sorry for the untruths that I have told, for the strong language I used, the moral decay that I have caused, and the Biblical principles that I have ignored.  I promise that I will stop blaming others for my failures and begin to compromise and work together with both parties to make this country strong again.”  Do you think that our country might begin to experience “hope and change”?

It is the same with couples.  Apologizing is a sign of maturity.  If in the middle of a conflict you apologize and admit fault, it helps the other person involved in the conflict to apologize for the part he/she played in creating it and you avoid making the conflict worse.  It can be good to apologize for the part you played in the conflict even when you think you are right.

In our country, half of the electorate is hurt.  In a marriage conflict, half of the people involved is usually hurt.  In our country or in our marriages we will have a hard time “just getting over it” without some genuine apologies from both parties involved.

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