Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Ever-So-Slightly Less Ugly Side, or How Not To Apologize

I wish I could say that after yesterday's post I woke up and I was a brand new person, my regular sweet cheerful self. Yeah, not so much. I did sleep on the couch...not because I didn't want to sleep in my bed but to avoid one more confrontation. Lights on or off? TV on or off? Laptop allowed in bed while I am trying to sleep or not? I really just needed dark and silence, so I took my pillow and slept on the couch. Much of the night was spent in indignant prayer, the kind that is probably not counted as the prayers of a righteous man...or woman.

Anyway, after looking for things to be further ticked off about today...and did you ever notice how easy they are to find when you are looking?...I decided to apologize. Don't think for a minute that I didn't know who was actually at fault here. 1 John 1:9 played through my head all day...God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness when we confess our sins. I just couldn't seem to confess without a chorus of yeah...but's following each confession.

So anyway, at about 6:00 pm I decided it was time to apologize. I practiced in my head. Here's a couple that I didn't go with:
1. I am sorry that I couldn't tolerate the way you acted all day yesterday.
2. I am sorry that you frustrated me so badly.
3. I am sorry that you lost it yesterday and I got mad at you.
4. If you would be more patient with the kids, I wouldn't have to get so bent out of shape.
5. I am sorry that I wasn't the bigger person yesterday. It's hormonal.

As you can see, all of these still place the blame for my behavior on someone else. You can't sincerely apologize if you are still excusing yourself. In the end, I went with a very sincere "I am so sorry for the way I acted yesterday. We were both stressed out and I didn't make the situation better for anyone." Of course he agreed completely with me and pointed out that the two hour family trip one way on a train was too much. Of course I pointed out that we wouldn't know that without doing it. But I think we are at a truce. At least I feel like I could ask for the light to be off without starting a new round. Maybe tonight I won't need the dark silence quite so badly either.

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