Can ‘Not Apologizing’ Motivate My Mate? and WW Linkup!

Generous Apologies

Today I’m continuing my series on why I didn’t apologize to my mate, by tackling the third justification I mentioned two weeks ago. {To see that post click here.}

“I believed that because his sins seemed so much worse and more glaring than mine, that by confessing, I would only be pacifying him. In doing that, I was robbing him of the negative consequences {conflict and anger} that he needed in order to wake up to his bad attitude.”

This false belief has sooo many layers that I need to unpack them one-by-one.

First of all – “I believed that his sins seemed so much worse and more glaring than mine.”

What fueled this belief? Plain and simple, my pride!

Dave Harvey so eloquently says, “If you find yourself on a speck hunt in your marriage, it’s probably because your suspicions are misdirected and you’re inspecting the wrong spouse.” {See Mt. 7:3-5}

As long as I was looking at him and his sin, I would not {and will not} be able to see my own sin. That’s because . . .

The second part of this distorted perspective is – “by confessing I would be pacifying him.”

To pacify means “quell the anger, agitation, or excitement of.”

To be sure, an apology is a guaranteed way to bring calmness to a situation. But I was viewing an apology in this scenario as more of an inauthentic way to submit to someone whom I believed did not deserve my submission.

Yes, I know how judgy, ugly and hypocritical that sounds and IS!

Sadly, I was more concerned about being “holier-than-thou” honest and authentic, than being concerned with my ugly pride and reeking rebellion. Yep! I was stirring up those “lovely” ingredients like a toxic cocktail in my heart!  

Last time I checked, God says,

“Submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” ~Ephesians 5:22 and “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” ~Ephesians 5:21

There’s no clause that says, “Submit only if your spouse is right or worthy of submission.”

If I am to submit to my husband as I “submit to the Lord” or “show reverence to Christ”who is certainly worthy of my submission—then . . .

Finally, the fact that – “I felt like withholding an apology would give my husband the negative consequence of my anger” . . .

Is flat-out making myself a “god.”

By using anger {which is not a helpful consequence in discouraging bad behavior, by the way!}, I was distracting my husband from the still small voice of God’s conviction in his life. I was muddying the already murky waters.

I finally recognized two important facts . . .

Truths 1&2

Do you think you must be genuine in your apology before you can offer one?

 

What do you think would increase your faith in the Lord’s handling of your mate’s sins and mistakes?

 

I hope you’ll be sure to join me next week as Cassie from True Agape will be our guest and host of Wedded Wednesday!


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, So Much at Home and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Let’s get this Wedded Wednesday Linkup started!

Messy Marriage
By the way, the linkup will stay up longer this week through Saturday night instead of closing this Thursday night!

Find our other WW buttons and guidelines here

  • Speck hunting. Yikes… convicted! 😉

    • Yikes is right, Becky! What was I thinking or am I thinking whenever I go on that speck hunt?? I think I need to start a new challenge called – “Plank Hunting – the best way to shoot down your excuses!” Ooh! I feel a blog post coming on! ha! Thanks for stopping by, sweet friend!

  • I love your ‘truths’ – maybe a printable?? Great post! It kind of sounds familiar to me…mostly ‘back then’…some now still. Thankfully Marcus is so full of grace and mercy for me and so ready and willing to forgive me.

    • Thanks, Aimee! That’s so great that this is mostly a “rear view mirror” problem in your life. I feel like I’m making strides with this as well. I’m actually talking about those strides in my next Sloppy Joe Time video, so I hope you’ll come back to check that out in a couple of weeks. That’s great that you have such an understanding and compassionate husband! He sounds like quite the “keeper!”

  • Pingback: Creating a Master Bedroom Sanctuary()

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Dei, an apology has to be genuine; anything else simply erodes trust.

    Hearing ‘Well, I’m SORRY!”, spoken in anger and with more sarcasm than sincerity, is worse than silenct.

    I am rather lucky in that my preseni health issues make it easy to turn stuff ovr to God. I have lost a lot of the need for worldly pride that kept anger and arguments aflame.

    Not a bad compensation for dying.

    • I agree that dealing with a chronic or terminal illness brings perspective that none of us truly have until we are walking in your shoes, Andrew. That’s why I’m so grateful that you continue to blog and comment, because we are learning from your journey–even as it is so painful to watch. I’m so grateful for your candor.

      And as far as apologizing when you’re not genuine, I agree for the most part with that too. I wanted to engage people with a rather controversial question, but I think there are times we can apologize all the while we admit that we don’t feel it yet. My husband and I say we’re sorry and I love you when the heat of the conflict is still clouding our perspective on those two areas. And though we may not be genuine about what we’re sorry for doing, we are genuinely sorry that we hurt each other. And we are “willing” ourselves to “love each other” in a verb kind of way and come closer . . . closer to that genuine perspective that we know is just around the corner if we persevere. I wondered if anyone would come close to saying something along that line. Thanks so much for joining the conversation, my friend, because I know you have more than one difficulty to overcome to do so!

  • bluecottonmemory

    I’ve discovered that when I’m upset – 10% of the reason belongs to my spouse – and 90% is my issue. It took me a long time to understand that – it’s humbling to discover that my specks are really bigger than what I see in my spouse!

    • Yep, Maryleigh. And if we look at it from a practical perspective–when we try to control our spouse’s 10%, we’re limiting ourselves to 0% control because we can’t even control the 10% we see! How crazy is that? I’m glad that you are wise enough to recognize this unhealthy dynamic and responsible enough to deal with who you have control over–yourself! Hugs to you, my friend and congrats on that new grandbaby! 🙂

  • Mary

    Keep unpacking these truths because we all need these reminders for our relationships. In answer to the question above, I do believe we must be genuine in our apology before we take that step from the viewpoint that our hearts must be ready or the apology will fall flat and we will continue in the same behavior pattern as before. So glad you are continuing this series. Blessings for a beautiful week friend!

    • You know, I’m glad you said it that way, Mary, because even though this is a blog about marriage, the issues are ones that can be applied to any relationship. I agree that our goal should be to have a heart that’s ready to be genuine, but I think we can do more in the heat of the moment than we give ourselves credit for. If you’re curious about more on that perspective, then check out my response to Andrew below. Thanks so much for your friendship and encouragement!

  • Pingback: The Total Marriage Makeover Book Review - Intentionally Pursuing()

  • I feel like you should be genuine when apologizing and forgiving both. Your mate can tell by your words and actions after giving the apology/forgiveness if you were being authentic. Sometime it takes time to pray and let God work on us before we can really come to our spouse and offer up those things. However, I also feel like you can apologize and forgive while still being hurt or working through feelings. You don’t have to wait for everything to be resolved or better. Thank you for great material to think on!

    • Yes, Cassie, that’s kind of what I was trying to get at with my oddly worded question. I believe there’s much more that we can do or other ways we can find true sorrow in the heat of the moment in order to genuinely apologize (at least in part) earlier. I’m not saying we should rush it, but I do think we should have a higher expectation of ourselves. I know that sometimes I give myself permission to hang on to my “I’m sorry” longer because “I’m not genuine” yet. But there’s more that I can expect of myself. Thanks for your insightful comment, my friend, and I look forward to having your post highlighted next week!

  • Pingback: Forgiven much but I can’t forgive…()

  • Apologizing equated with excusing. That’s a real struggle with real, deep, broken hurt. I’ve been there. I remind myself that it is I, me, that will stand before God to explain. This helps me as I try to live the forgiven life. Forgiving others and asking for it right back.

    • Great way to put it, Carmen. That’s really what I was doing–justifying my bad behavior that was upset because of my husband’s bad behavior! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! ha! And remembering who we are really sinning against (the Lord) is another great motivator and perspective-shifter as well! Thanks for your great words of wisdom, my friend!

  • I love that you are reminding us to focus on our own sins rather than focusing on our spouse’s sin. It is so easy to see the speck in our spouse’s eye and miss our own big ol’ log! As I’ve grown in marriage I try to constantly remind myself that if something is really bothering me about my spouse, there is a good chance that I’m the one who needs to change. Having that attitude can help me analyze the situation a little better.

    • Yes, that’s such a great rule-of-thumb, Jessica! I really can’t do a single thing about my husband’s attitude or response, but “you’re-darn-tootin'” there’s plenty that I can do about my own attitude! Thanks for joining the conversation, my new-found friend!

  • Pingback: 4 Marital Truths We Must Fight To Keep. : Teshuva()

  • Thanks very much Beth, you touched on something very crucial to the well being of any marriage.
    Apologizing can be a real struggle until we view it as “unto the Lord”. When we continually yield ourselves to God and His word, when we start desiring and pursuing to “do everything as unto the Lord”, it does help change our perspective on everything.
    I am leaning on The Holy Spirit to help me constantly and continually yield to Him, doing all as unto The Lord. The peace it brings passes human understanding… even in marriage.

    • Yes, that changes everything, Ugochi. When we recognize that every offense and sin we commit is really against the Lord, then we are able to make that necessary shift from pride to humility. I’m so glad that you are learning to lean on the Lord in those times when it is most challenging. And yes, His peace is what we must pursue more than any apology from our mates!

  • Mary Flaherty

    Beth, I do believe that an apology needs to be authentic or it’s not an apology at all. It’s more of a compromise in order to smooth things over. When we do that, we don’t deal with the real problem, and that will lay dormant until the next confrontation. A forced apology reminds me of when my kids were little and we said, “Now, say you’re sorry.” My daughter always sneered and said, “SOR-ree.” I knew she never meant it. Great post…did you really believe that about your husband, or is that someone else? (Insert Winky Smiley face)

    • Definitely, Mary, when we apologize just to pacify or to be done with the issue, we are hurting our relationship not helping. If you’re interested, I told Andrew below more about how I think we can push past the totally genuine aspect to an apology that is more of a work in progress. But you are so right about any apology that is forced–it never brings the healing that can be present when we choose to take responsibility. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • My husband and I came from different schools of thought when it came to the apology. It would be a big understatement to say this caused some problems for us the first couple of years in our marriage. I piled up a ton of my own sin focusing on what he was not doing the way I thought he should. One day the Holy Spirit highlighted some verses I’d read many times before; it was like a brick hit me. Love that you are talking about this today, my friend. We had a lot of hurtful moments back then.

    • Isn’t it funny, Kim, how the Lord can use His word to break down some walls with a truth that feels like “a brick” from that very same wall hitting us over the head?! And my husband and I have struggled to understand apologies and how to approach them over the years as well–causing more arguments that required . . . an apology, of all things! ha! Thanks for adding to the discussion and for sharing a bit about your own struggle to find common ground.

  • Those 2 little truths are great big nuggets of wisdom, Beth. Keepers they are. You, too …

    I hope your weekend has pockets of blissful stillness, friend. These are busy weeks, yes?

  • Pingback: It Doesn’t Have to be a Battle: Tips for Managing the Strong-Willed Child Part One - A Work Of Grace()