Secrets of a Newlywed: Get Used to Saying, “I’m Sorry”

This is the next post in Secrets of a Newlywed, a series where I open up and share some of the lessons, insights and understandings--the little secrets--that have made my marriage the wedded bliss that it is. Like anything else, they are easier said than done. But I know from personal experience that when I do manage to live them out, I've seen what beautiful fruit they bear in my relationship with my husband. 

So, today, I share another with you: Get Used to Saying, "I'm Sorry."

I was babysitting when one of the kids had pushed his little brother. The mom was right there and she leaned over and told him he needed to apologize to his brother. With his nose scrunched up, his eyes to the ground, he forced it out: “I’m sorry.”

Certainly he thought his brother fully deserved that push, so when it came time to apologize, he had to do so against his will, without the desire, while the rest of his human nature was squirming away from doing the right thing.

And yet, unbeautifully and awkwardly, he did it. His little brother wiped the tears from his eyes and said okay. After a hug and a kiss from his mommy, he went back to playing and soon they were brothers again, sharing trains and picture books with the incident but a vague memory.

Apologizing is one of those things that none of us at any age enjoys to do. It takes humility to say, I was wrong. It takes us being willing to think of another to say, I was wrong. It takes courage to admit, I was wrong.

And yet, with that courage, humility and selflessness comes restoration, like the kind I saw that afternoon between two brothers who had no idea what they were experiencing but the grace that can happen when we let it enter our relationships.

So it is with marriage, where some of the first words I had to get used to saying were also some of the hardest. Outside of marriage, sure you apologize, but it’s not really all that often and if it is, you can usually distance yourself from the person until the sting wears off and all is forgotten. Not so in wedlock, where the person is sitting across from you at dinner and you find yourself stumbling into situations that call for "I'm sorry" on what can seem like a daily basis.

When we were first married, there were times when I knew I had to apologize, but like the big brother, I was kicking and screaming on the inside when I did. But then, despite my scrunched-up nose and squeaked-out apology, I experienced the grace that came when my husband would pull me in for a hug and tell me, without any anger or condescension in his voice, that he forgave me.

That made it easier for me in the future to apologize, because over time and through many apologies, I learned and trusted that no matter how much I had hurt him or what kind of mistake I’d made, he would meet me in my humility and we’d get through this together, holding hands and restored.

It also made me realize the importance of apologizing sooner, rather than later, which just drags the whole mess out, leaving us both to wrestle with the awkwardness and tension for longer than necessary.

Now, today, when I make a mistake or realize I’ve hurt him with something I’ve said accidentally, I know that the best reaction is the one that still is hard, but has proven itself to be the most satisfying and worthwhile: “I’m sorry.”

(To read through all the posts in this series, click here.)

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Notes from Love and Respect: Insights for Wives
The Truth About Conflict in Relationships


  1. Apologizing is one of those most interesting things to me - it's a few simple words, but the meaning is so deep. It is incredibly difficult to do (and often you just plain don't want to do it), yet usually you feel so much lighter afterwards.

  2. So true! It's kinda like one of those "no pain, no gain" things :)

  3. This is a hard task to do and sometimes impossible to do but doing it eases the tension im still learning being married for 5 months

  4. Congrats on your marriage, Remla! I think we'll ALL be learning the ins and outs of how to enrich our marriages for a long time! :)


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