“All new news is old news happening to new people.”
At one point it was new to me, and it might be new to you.
We’ve all experienced it: that moment when the tide turns. The day was going perfectly fine. The kids were happy, everything was on track.
And then it happens.
Some thing. Some little thing.
You talk about it. You talk a little more. And then in one little sentence—THUNK.
You’re standing in the bottom of a whole. You never saw it. You don’t remember falling. One minute you were in your living room, and the next you were looking up through the carpet at your spouse wondering how you were going to get out.
So what do we naturally do? Try to convince them to be reasonable and see things our way, of course.
But we know how that story ends. Hours of silence and the end of a perfectly good day.
Getting Out in Two Words
Want to know how to get out of the hole quickly?
What if the secret to success only took two–little–words?
We all know it’s difficult. Pride is a huge pill to swallow. Saying I’m sorry implies we were wrong. But if you want to stay together, you have to know the secret:
It’s never about the argument; it’s always about the relationship.
Go back and replay the moment when it went downhill—when the eyebrow raised, when the brow furrowed, when the response took just a little bit longer. You know the cues by now.
At that exact moment, it was no longer about that little thing. And no amount of talking about that little thing can make it better.
This is where you must use the secret to success. You must say the two little words as an act of faith, knowing it’s the right thing to say, whether you were right or wrong about the little thing. And this is why:
They don’t want your apology. They want you to care about them more than yourself.
And that’s why you should say “I’m sorry,” whether you think you’re right or not. After all, do you want to be right? Or do you want to have a strong relationship?
Three Bonus Words
Now for the three secret-to-success bonus words.
“I’m sorry” will keep your relationship alive. But you don’t want to settle for alive—for “good enough.” You want “Wow.” For three extra words, your relationship can thrive:
I know what you’re thinking. Hear me out.
Those three words will get you to “Wow.”
Practice saying it fellas. Even if you were right about the argument, you might have been wrong about handling the relationship. So practice saying it, earnestly.
They’re not hearing “I was wrong.” They’re hearing “I care about you more than myself.”
Are you saying this to the ones you love? Have you said it to the One who loved you first?
It’s not about that little thing; it’s about the relationship.
So what’s keeping you from saying “I’m sorry?”
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Say it when you have everything to lose. Say it when you have nothing to lose.
In either case, you have everything to gain.
- The Golden Rule and Strong Marriages
- Monogamy in the Kingdom: Natural, Unnatural, or Supernatural?