My marriage isn’t perfect. Before we were married, our relationship wasn’t perfect. There have been some incredibly rough patches, that included screaming matches, nasty comments, and I think I’ve thrown a few things at him.
If you’ve met us, there is rarely a conversation we have where I don’t make a snarky comment, or he doesn’t make a joke out of something serious. It’s just who we are. We argue playfully 90% of the time, I would like to think. And the other 10% of the time, we’re being childish and ignoring each other on opposite couches in the living room. But at the end of the night, we still go to bed together. We still kiss each other goodnight, say we’re sorry for whatever we said 20 minutes ago, and know that the other loves us.
I’ve heard lots of “advice” on getting married young, like we have. (I use sarcasm here, because some advice is really just people wanting to put their 2 cents in.) Some people said “don’t go to bed angry”. Others said “don’t be afraid to go to bed angry”. I’ve heard “don’t start something at the beginning of your marriage you don’t want to do for the rest of it”. “Compromise.” “Work together.”
But I’ve never been given the piece of advice I use the most: always say you’re sorry.
Here’s the thing: we could be arguing about something silly, and I’ll say I’m sorry. We could be arguing about something like money, and I’ll say I’m sorry. Even if it’s not my fault. Even if I don’t think I’m in the wrong. Why?
I’m not apologizing for disagreeing with my husband. I’m not even apologizing for something I’m not sorry about. What I’m saying sorry for is I’m sorry that we’re arguing. I’m sorry I’ve hurt your feelings. I’m sorry you don’t agree with me. I’m sorry I don’t agree with you. I’m sorry for the thing I said, even though I know you know I didn’t mean it.
The way I see it is, even if we still don’t agree about something, I have apologized for my part in our argument. I have put on my big girl panties, saddled up my pony, and said, “I love you, and I’m sorry for my part in this.” I don’t care who you are: it takes two to argue. You’re just as guilty as your partner at the end of the day, when you’ve both said nasty things to each other and y’all haven’t reached an agreement.
Saying you’re sorry doesn’t mean you’re conceding on an issue you feel strongly about. It simply means you know that your relationship is more important than being right, or forcing someone to accept your opinion. Sometimes, we fight about such little things. We’re human. It happens. Just yesterday we argued over the fact he yelled at me because I moved his hand while working on a craft project 🙄. And at the end of the night, I still turned and said, “I’m sorry we were mean to each other today,” and he said, “I am too.”
I always say I’m sorry, because in this life, you don’t know what comes next. He could leave for work and get recalled for a deployment, and I’m going to remember that I sent him out the door while I was angry. He could fall down a mountain during a field op and break his neck, and the last thing we did was argue. I could get into a car wreck on the way home from Target (let’s be real, y’all know I’m there 6 days a week), and we didn’t even tell each other that we loved one another that morning because we were arguing.
Always say you’re sorry, but only for what you’re sorry for. Don’t just say it because you think you should. If we’re arguing over the way his actions made me feel, I don’t apologize for feeling the way I do. My emotions are valid, even if they’re PMS induced emotions. I simply say that I’m sorry we’re arguing. Because I am. I would much rather be curled up on the couch eating chocolate and watching classic movies than be arguing.
Getting married at 18 and 20 wasn’t a bad idea. We had known we were going to get married since we were 14 and 16. It was just one of those things where our souls went, “OH MY GOSH, there you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” We don’t argue any more or less than my mom and stepdad who got married and older, undisclosed ages. (Love you, mama.) I don’t poison his food and he doesn’t crush my eyeshadow palettes. How do we make it work?
We always say we’re sorry. We pray for each other. We pray for ourselves. We pray for our marriage. We don’t go to bed angry, just because he knows I’ll flick his throat while he snores if we do. (JK…kinda) We don’t expect the other to always agree.
But we always say we’re sorry for not agreeing, because it led to a (sometimes) nasty argument.