An apology is a powerful thing. I wish it weren’t true, but my ability, or maybe it is my willingness, to forgive the smallest and the biggest things often depend on that little phrase.
After twenty three years of marriage, you would think that either my husband would have learned this or I would have gotten over it, but, no. I keep wanting apologies, and he keeps giving me excuses.
They are pretty much the exact opposite.
Whereas an apology diffuses the hurt I feel, excuses incite it.
An apology says I care about your feelings; an excuse says I only care about my own.
As I said, often, it is the most trivial things.
Yesterday evening, I came home at 5:30 to make dinner and discovered my husband and daughter had just finished eating. We haven’t eaten before 6:30 all week, so I was surprised.
Since what they had eaten included some of the ingredients for the dinner I’d planned, I was also annoyed. I asked why they’d eaten without us. (My son had been with me.)
Now, this was stupid. Upon reflection, I actually knew why my husband ate dinner so early. He’d skipped lunch and was hungry.
He just couldn’t say that, though. Nor could he say, “I’m sorry.”
No, he had to give me variety of excuses, like
- I didn’t know how long you would be. (Text me to ask?)
- For all I knew you might be eating out. (He knows I never do this.)
- I thought I was doing you a favor.
I went from mildly annoyed to feeling truly hurt because his excuses all put the blame on me – which is what excuses usually do.
The pathetic thing is, in that way, they work. I go from thinking, “That was rude,” to, “What is wrong with me that I keep expecting him to apologize when the past two decades have proven that he won’t? How stupid am I?”
A triviality which could have ended with an apology and a kiss thus sends me into a little whirlpool of self accusation and doubt, because, really, how inane can I be? Why do I keep wanting apologies? It really isn’t that big of deal. I should be able to forgive without signs of remorse or regret, shouldn’t I?
I think I should, and I beat myself up over this character flaw for a good part of the evening.
And I think that is ridiculous of me, too, so I chastise myself for that as well.
I owe myself an apology. I’m way too hard on me.
(I also apologize for the song, which I do not like. There really aren’t a lot of songs with the words “I’m sorry” in them.)