In the thirteen years that I have been with my beautiful bride, I have initiated an argument (maybe) seven times. That’s not to say we haven’t had our fair share of disagreements. It’s just that I don’t usually start them. Well, not intentionally anyways.
You see, I might have a few idiosyncrasies that might bother Rachel. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I do and they do. And it is usually my quirks that manage to irritate Rachel to the point where she is irate. Fortunately, I know what bothers my wife and can recognize when I have done something to piss her off. I am therefore often able to calm the storm before it becomes a tempest.
However, every now and then I do the impossible and tick her off without even knowing it. In these instances I find myself working through the eight steps to forgiveness.
Step 1 – Realize that I am in trouble.
It’s never what she says that lets me know I am in the dog house. It’s the way in which she communicates: complete lack of eye contact; jaded, almost sarcastic tone; direct one word answers. Oh no!
Step 2 – Ask what I did wrong.
My knee-jerk reaction is to ask Rachel what’s wrong. Really, it’s a waste of breath because her response is always the same. It’s a word to which women all over the world have given a new definition: ‘nothing’. My mind screams, “Nooooooooooo!” because I know that this ‘nothing’ is about to become my ‘everything’ for the next couple of days. *sigh*
Step 3 – Wrack my brain to figure out what I did wrong.
It is important that I figure out on my own what I did to upset my wife. Repeated inquiries are always met with the same response (nothing) and only work to intensify her anger towards me.
In her mind I should already know what I did wrong without having to be told. The mere fact that I have to ask her what’s wrong shows how little I care about her feelings. *double sigh*
In my mind… well, in my mind there’s nothing but confusion. Had I known what I did wrong I wouldn’t be bothering her with the constant questions and would have already skipped ahead to steps four and six.
However, I am rarely able to discern my transgressions without my wife’s assistance and end up badgering her until she finally breaks and tells me what I have done or said to upset her.
Step 4 – Apologize
The time that it has taken me to realize my blunders has rendered the likelihood of a quick resolution remote to nil. My apologies are often met with a silence.
Rachel has told me that she needs to take her time to digest what has happened and contemplate whatever it is that has gotten her upset. She listens to my apologies but is not ready to really hear them until she has worked through the situation in her head.
Although I understand that it takes time for her to process the problem, I am a guy and want to reach a resolution as quickly as possible. To me, if there’s a problem, fix it.
And so, I begin to get frustrated as my apologies continue to fall upon seemingly deaf ears.
Step 5 – Wait
This is the step that can extend an argument from one day to three. The longer I have to wait for Rachel to begin to discuss the situation with me, the more frustrated I get. I have little patience for things that I can’t control. Unfortunately, impatience is also one of my wife’s pet peeves. Our personalities therefore work to aggravate each other to the point where neither one of us wants to talk. *Doh*
Step 6 – Suck up
Finally, my need to resolve the problem is more important than anything else and I begin to suck up. I’ll snuggle, kiss, hug, and do anything I can to bring that effervescent smile back to her face. Eventually, my antics succeed and we begin to work through our issues.
Step 7 — Confrontation
Sometimes voices are raised and other times we laugh at our stubborn personalities. However, we always move to step eight with an ease that makes the previous days quite laughable.
Step 8 — Forgiveness
I’ll allow you to use your imagination.:)
She Will Be Loved, by Maroon 5, brings me back to the beaches of Boracay. I can’t recall why Rachel was upset with me. All I remember is walking along the beach behind her trying to move past my own frustration and figure out a way to resolve the problem so we wouldn’t waste another moment of our holiday being angry.
Suddenly, a woman performing at a nearby beachfront bar started to croon this song. Without thinking, I walked up to Rachel, put my hand in hers and started to talk. I don’t know if it was the music, my actions, my words, the venue or all of the above. However, for whatever the reason, Rachel’s mood quickly changed and we managed to work out or problems on the beach that very night.
I don’t agree with the saying that you shouldn’t go to sleep upset. Sometimes a little time is needed to bring peace to a situation. I have learned (but not mastered) that I can’t rush resolution. What I can do, however, is feel secure in my relationship with my wife. I am not worried that Rachel will lose any love for me if she falls asleep angry. Every day we spend together strengthens our commitment to each other. We both strive to fuel our love so that the flames never die down. If anything, they have only grown brighter, stronger and much more vibrant.
Likewise, I am confident that Rachel feels the same sense of security. She recognizes in me the same devotion that she constantly professes. Upset or content, Rachel will always know that she is and will forever be loved.
She Will be Loved youtube link