Although these Little Love Stories are the first thing people talk about when they meet me, I have been gently accused of over-romanticizing. I love sharing positive stories and special memories to encourage you all in your current or future relationships. With that said, there is a place to be real, to face the fact that no relationship is perfect because we are imperfect people. So here’s a little bit of “real”…
This chalkboard is displayed in our home for everyone to see. It makes some big claims about our little family and how we treat one another. Unfortunately, it reminds me how often we fail in many of these areas, the grace one, even the love one, but mostly the I’m Sorrys one. I hope some of you can relate when I say that “I’m sorry” is one of the most difficult things for me to say (a close second would be “I was wrong.”). I don’t know why. My parents even trained me like a little child robot to say the person’s name and that I was sorry, after which I named the offense, admitted that it was wrong, and then finally, asked for forgiveness. I probably said a variation of these words hundreds of times growing up… “Stephen, I’m sorry for shoving a Lego up your nose while you were sleeping. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”
Regardless of all the formal sorry saying training, it’s still something I struggle with. It’s not that I don’t know that it’s wrong, I do. It’s not that I’m not sorry, I am. It’s that I’m prideful. Ouch. (Real enough yet?)
The other day I was reminded of my not-so-little flaw when Jacob and I had one of those arguments that was based completely on a lack of communication. We really don’t argue often and even when we do the arguments are about something unimportant and only last 4 minutes. This one was the same and it ended with my mature decision to turn the hair dryer on to dry my hair, but mostly just so the conversation could be over.
As I flipped my head upside down to maximize the volumizing power of my blow dryer I knew that our silly little argument was just that: silly and little and so unimportant that I could simply turn off the hair dryer, go downstairs, say “I’m sorry,” and give Jacob a hug. But I felt like he was “more wrong” (whatever that means) so I continued to dry. Once I was done with my hair, I knew I had two options: 1) Admit that I was wrong by simply saying sorry or 2) Stay upstairs, turn on some emo music (I’m thinking Dashboard Confessional would do the trick), and wait for Jacob to come admit that he was more wrong. I hated both options.
So, I went downstairs and just chatted like nothing had happened. Jacob chatted back but the lack of sorrys cloud was looming. A few times, I tried to say it but the words would not leave my lips. So, as usual, Jacob would be the first to swallow his pride and show more grace and love than I allowed myself to.
“I’m sorry for giving unsolicited advice.”
Silence. I could hardly even remember what I was mad about.
“I’m sorry for being defensive.”
The cloud lifted.
I immediately felt relief and I couldn’t believe that I had let my pride and stubbornness keep me under that cloud even for a few minutes. It showed me how small and insignificant the argument was compared to having peace in our relationship. And I was reminded (as I have been before and, if we’re being real, will have to be again) that I need to love first, give grace first, and say “I’m sorry” first.
Then, at the perfect time for some much needed comic relief, Molly Mae trotted into the room. I picked her up, tapped her paw on Jacob’s shoulder and said in my cutest baby voice, “I’m sorry for being so cute.”
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