Saying Sorry... Or Not


Perhaps other couples never fight. Perhaps you're the only husband that ever has dramas. It's not true.

My wife is angry at me and I don't know what to do...

Wive's have a great way of showing you when they are annoyed. It's often not a direct conversation. It would be nice if it was. Could you imagine it?... "Honey, I'd like to explain to you how I am feeling. It's because such and such happened and then you did blah. Can you not do that in the future?" Well, that's never happened to me, and I don't know how to make it happen like that.

So you know something is wrong. You poke and prod a little to get her to share why she is treating you in such a way to make your life suck, and you eventually get a response that may or may not be the truth.

NOW, I was once told that the best thing to do is apologise. In fact, people told me that the more mature or spiritual person is the one who apologizes first. For a long time I lived by that methodology. I would find out what was wrong, and I would apologise whether I believed I was in the wrong or not. Problem is, if you apologise for things you haven't done and therefore cannot really feel any remorse for, when you actually are sorry for something one day, your apology will have the value of a Zimbabwean dollar (i.e. no value).

I have discovered something that I think is very important, and that is to only speak the truth. If I can extract from my wife what it is that is making her upset, and I realise I have acted selfishly, or made a mistake, then I must apologise immediately and without explaining my actions. (To follow an apology with an explanation is like saying "sorry, but I will do it again given certain circumstances.")

If I humbly honestly truly absolutely believe I have not acted selfishly or been in the wrong or made a mistake, then I simpy state the facts and leave it at that. My wife can remain upset at me, but it is not my job to trick her into thinking I am sorry when I am not. I don't like it when she acts hostile toward me, but I'd rather that than live a lie.

If it's clear that there is just a simple misunderstanding then I can calmly explain why I did what I did and allow her to take her time to see that I love her and obviously have no intention of making her feel unloved. This is usually not a good time to dump a bunch of meaningless clichés and needless explanation on your wife.

If I can see that she is feeling unloved then I can respond to that need directly, without needing to deal with the issue that is supposed to be the problem.

Sometimes we struggle to find words to explain our feelings. There is a chance your wife is feeling a certain way but cannot find words to justify why she feels that way. Sometimes when people feel unloved, they find they need to justify their feelings by blaming someone's actions or inaction. It is unfortunate we often don't feel free to simply feel.

If this seems to be the case, try to detect what it is she needs and give her that, rather than detect what "problem" may have caused her to feel the way she does. She may just simply need some of your attention, your time, your reassurance, your conversation, your love.