He’s sorry.

17 Mar

Have you ever noticed that sometimes in an argument, men get everything out they want to say, spend a little time in silence, and then… they’re just over whatever the problem was?

Or, you’ve made it obvious to him he’s hurt your feelings, so he gives you some space, and then acts like nothing happened?

Or, you’ve just been in an argument and you both know you didn’t really resolve anything but after a few hours, he’s moved on like the problem went away?

Ever been annoyed by this?  I have.  It’s not the way we women handle it, and it can sometimes feel frustrating or even unloving.

And in our typical female fashion, we play out a couple of scenarios in our mind of what he should do and say to apologize, make it right, or truly resolve the issue – and actually expect it to be followed pretty closely.

Before I dive in with what we women can do with this… let me make two points.

1.) For everyone reading along, a really good apology is more healing than you could ever imagine. It’s almost impossible to stay angry at someone who is sincerely repenting to you.

Saying: “I’m sorry, but you”

“I only did this because”

“I can’t believe that hurt you”

“I’m sorry you feel this way”

“Well, I didn’t do it on purpose”

are all really lousy and cruel ways to sincerely apologize. You have no right to tell someone else what hurts.  And no matter if you did it on purpose or not, even unintentional wounds need healed.

A real apology has three things:

a.) I’m sorry I …….  (no buts or howevers!!!!!) Take ownership of the mistake.

b.) Please forgive me. (Be sincere in wanting to be forgiven and reconciled again.)

c.) I will try not to hurt you in this way again. (Don’t just be sorry without planning to change… make an honest verbal effort to not repeat the offense.)

If we’re really sorry, and we really love the person we’ve hurt… we’ll humble ourselves and truly make it right with a real apology.

2.) If you’re a guy reading along…. before I defend and explain you in a minute here… I’d encourage you to do better in this area.

Work on real apologies because it’s the right thing to do.  Make time to study about women and your wife specifically and love languages – and apply what you learn to your wife. Imagine that respecting and honoring you the way that meets your needs most takes her from her comfort zone and requires her to do things she really doesn’t feel like doing, or are hard to do. And then be challenged to honor and love her in the same ways, no matter how uncomfortable it feels to build new habits or apologize in such a humble way.

OK – back to the meat and potatoes of this post.

Men don’t always say “I’m sorry” when they are apologizing.

Boys on the play ground very rarely get into a fight, spend hours talking it out, and then apologize in detail before they play together again.

Grown men are typically no different.

If he’s offering a loving gesture (helping in the kitchen, folding the laundry, rubbing your back, patting you on the butt as he walks past) he’s saying “I’m sorry. Lets be better now.”

Is this OK?  Well, yeah – it is.

The thing about us women is that we sometimes expect men to act feminine, or we reject their ideas and gestures.  Sitting around and thinking about what he should say and how he should say it is really just an unrealistic expectation and it’s causing us to plan out what to be angry at him about in advance when he fails to meet this daydream.

More than likely, even if he does say “I’m sorry” or you talk about the matter further, he isn’t going to say anything how you would say it.  He’s male, and most of them don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves expressed through hundreds of words.

Even chatty men are unlikely to give lengthy apologies. Or even desire to hash out every detail.

If we’re honest, part of what we love about these men is that they aren’t emotional babies.  We want our men to be strong and brave.  We want to feel safe with them and like they are our heroes.

Yes, when they let their shield down and let us hear some of their emotions (especially with a few tears every once in a while) that’s an incredible blessing!!

But if your husband cried randomly for no reason, wanted to talk about his feelings 24/7 and used lengthy explanations to describe how he’s feeling – it’s be more likely you’d eventually wonder when he became your best girl friend instead of your husband.

Maybe we can cut them a little slack here and stop putting expectations on how they have to behave, and let them love us like men.

(If there has been a major wound, please don’t think I am suggesting that it can be ignored or brushed under the rug without an apology. I definitely do not feel this way! I’m talking about the minor infractions that sometimes turn into crazy big arguments because after the offense, the real battle becomes in what they did or didn’t say to correct it according to what we are and aren’t willing to accept.)

Practical Application:

Give him some grace to apologize like a man.

After a minor offense, allow that pat on the butt or random question about the yard to be the apology that brings you back together. Offer some grace and let him be masculine sometimes without having to answer to your wrath.

He’s not fine he hurt you.  He’s sorry.  And attempting to come back together and play, is just a man’s way to apologize sometimes.

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8 Responses to “He’s sorry.”

  1. Elizabeth March 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Kayla,

    I know this to be the truth! A day or two ago my husband replied a bit roughly to something I asked him, quite unintentionally, and a few minutes later he came up beside me when I was doing dishes, leaned in, kissed me tenderly, and said he loved me. I smiled, kissed him back, and everything was fine. Life is literally WAY TOO SHORT to “sweat the small stuff.” If we continually insist on our husbands doing everything to our standards we’re setting ourselves up for misery and disappointment. The expression “Live and let live” comes to mind. Love is giving each other the benefit of the doubt and believing the best of each other, knowing deep down how many times we ourselves fail in many ways to act and speak absolutely perfectly. By allowing our husbands to “apologize” for small things like this, we are helping to “cover over” their mistakes in love, without unnecessarily shining a spotlight on small shortcomings. I’ve learned this, of course, after many years of marriage and knowing that the other way doesn’t work. Thanks for the great post!

    • Kayla Gulick March 17, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Great example!! Thanks for sharing how this has looked and worked in your life. It helps us grow in our marriages to see ourselves in each others stories. I appreciate you being here!

  2. Jaki March 19, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    GREAT GREAT POST. Your were GOD sent, i truly needed this. Kathambi.

    • Kayla Gulick March 19, 2014 at 6:32 am #

      You’re so welcome. Such an honor to grow along side you friend!

  3. steve March 28, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    As a believer I struggle with having grown up in a non christian house and a mother who was chronically depressed and alcoholic. Nothing positive ever came out of her mouth and I was the black sheep of the family. So naturally I’m wondering if there are exceptions where an immediate apology can be accepted even if it’s crappy. For example, we are a blended couple, all our kids are out of the house. My son got married and my wife had two daughters who had been married. So she sat down one night and showed me what she had gifted her 1st daughter and then accounting for inflation what she had contributed to her second daughter. Then she showed me the amount that adjusted for the recent wedding would be. A week later my son called and I told him the amount that we would be gifting him and his wife, and he could take it off a loan they owed us. When I told my wife she got very upset and claimed the amount was a suggestion for me to think about and I should have talked with her first. None of which I can deny in retrospect, but at the time, she was very mad and stung me with her words of anger and condemnation. I immediately apologized and then asked if she could tone down her anger since I hadn’t intentionally ignored or excluded her. I felt she could have expressed her disappointment by owning her feelings rather than justifying them on the basis of my unthinking actions. I don’t know if I’ve represented her side very well, but I know a lot of times, it starts out as an angry accusations, and it’s hard to not be defensive and want to use the the non-intentional card when that is what happened. To me there is a difference if I’m walking back wards out the house and don’t see the cat on the stoop and step on it’s tail, vs. seeing it with my hands full and pushing or punting it angrily off the step. In both cases I’ve stepped on or messed with the cat. Do both situations deserve a response something akin to “why did you do that? what were you thinking? Your so clumsy-you did that on purpose, you never look behind you, you always ignore the cat, you hate the cat!!!” If I never saw it before I stepped on it, I don’t like to be told that the only way I can sincerely apologize is to stop being an insensitive oaf. When I thought it was just an accident. This is a strong issue for me, I’d like to learn more about how maybe I’m still contributing to this cycle of diluted apologies. Or maybe not.

    • Kayla Gulick March 28, 2014 at 6:40 am #

      Hey Steve,

      You bring up some great points here!

      This is one area women really struggle because we’re so emotional, that we think our emotions are worthy to be trusted and acted on at all times.
      That is a lie. Emotions are not truth, and can cause us to hurt ourselves and others.

      These emotional responses you’re getting are unintentionally doing more damage than she’s aware of. Women don’t realize how disrespectful it is to say things like “why did you” or “what were you thinking”.

      Women tend to try to parent their husband when they don’t like his behavior. This is dangerous ground.

      Have you talked to your wife about these phrases?

      I might suggest sitting down at a good time, (NOT in the middle of a very heated discussion) and say, “I want to share my heart with you about something. I know that I really hurt you sometimes and often times, it’s accidental but that doesn’t lessen my responsibility to apologize and ask your forgiveness. In the future, if you’d use “these words(insert your own here)” and “avoid “these words/phrases (insert your own here)” I really feel it will help me to hear your heart better and fix the mistakes quickly. Those words crush my spirit and make me feel like you think I hate you and hurt you on purpose. You mean everything to me, I don’t want to hurt you, ever, but when I do, I want to make it right.”

      I think men shut down when they are hurt, often called stonewalling, and that just makes a woman feel more hurt and disconnected from her husband.

      As hard as it is when you’re hurt…. if you want to help her and help your marriage, communicate all these thoughts and feelings to her in love and PRAY PRAY PRAY for God to open her heart and see how valuable your suggestions are and make good changes.

      I hope that helps answer what you were asking.

  4. Elizabeth April 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I am a Christian and try very diligently to speak and act in line with God’s Word. I completely respect and appreciate all opinions stated/shared here. But I have to ask if there really isn’t some “flesh” involved with a man who doesn’t like to verbally apologize even for the small offenses. I do understand what y’all are stating about the differences between men and women. I agree women can be much more emotional than men. I don’t believe extreme emotions should come into play any more than I believe pride should come into play for a man. I don’t think it is his masculinity that doesn’t like to apologize for small stuff….I think it is truly pride. Nor do I believe our emotions affecting our apololgies is a valid reason to not aplogize appropriately. As far as I have learned as a Christian, we are to think of others as more important than ourselves. According to Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” As a Christian, if my husband hurts or offends me ~ even with something minor ~ I do believe he should consider greatly my feelings. If I am hurt, I do believe fellowship is broken to some degree. According to these verses, if my husband is practicing this, he will be more concerned with how I feel because of his offense than he will be about his own masculinity and the protection of it. If there is an offense, the Bible says it needs to be made right whether it is between us and God or us and someone else (i.e. our spouse). If someone is truly sorry, how can they have such a hard time with simply saying, “I am sorry for (state offense), please forgive me. We need to own our sin, confess it, and aplogize. To me, anything else falls short of humility. In order for someone to be forgiven, they need to accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness. To me, trying to gain reconciliation any other way seems to be prideful, and I don’t believe “true” reconciliation can be achieved. Why is it so hard for a man to say a simple, “I was wrong; I am sorry for hurting you; please forgive me. If my husband did not ask for forgiveness when he hurts me, I don’t know if I would respect him too easily. I would feel he was selfish, prideful, and stubborn. I am really not sure I agree that cutting them this kind of slack is healthy for the marriage. When I sin against my husband and the Lord convicts me, I cannot wait to make it right. It grieves me as a child of God that I hurt the man I love. I have to make it right and I don’t even think I would think it was right unless I went straight to him and apologized and made sure he was all right. I don’t believe I feel this way because I am a woman ~ I believe I feel this way because I have the Holy Spirit residing in me and He convicts me so I can make things right. If my husband has the Holy Spirit in him, then why would the Holy Spirit deal with him in a different way? I don’t believe that he does.
    The gentleman that talked about the “cat” scenario has a fleshly wife, not an emotional wife, if this is how she treats him. I think she needs to get her heart right with God and her husband on some issues. Why does the husband have to be the one to make concessions and try to find a way to deal with her behavior? I think she needs a rebuke and to be corrected by her husband for being so fleshly. That kind of behavior and attitude is not displayed by someone who is walking in the Spirit. I believe she needs to be rebuked.
    I have a husband who apologizes for his offenses and if he didn’t, I wouldn’t believe he was truly sorry. When he hurts me, he makes it right through confession. If he just “patted me on the butt,” I wouldn’t accept that. And if I did, I believe I would be hurting him spiritually, not helping him. To me, this seems more like the way the world would deal with offenses, not a Spirit-filled Christian. I am not trying to be insensitive or harsh, but I think sin, and confession and repentance (in order to bring about reconciliation) is Biblical whether it is a man or woman doing it….I think it should be the same for both sexes.

    • Kayla Gulick April 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth!

      Thanks for sharing those thoughts! They were great!

      As you read in my post, I too believe a real apology is right for a man to give. That’s why I even encourage men to learn to do it properly and not just half-hearted or in a way that is enough to get by.

      The point I was trying to make by this post is that sometimes, we women (and men!) get all bent out of shape over something that really wasn’t a sin… and then we expect a grand gesture to make it right… and then when the grand gesture isn’t there, we get even more angry… and pretty soon something so silly has divided us completely apart.

      Yes, a hundred times over, when our husband sins against us… he needs to apologize. That can’t be ignored or reconciled with a love tap.

      We are all really selfish beings by human nature, and often times we get upset not because we’re sinned against, but because we put expectations on people to do and act a certain way, and then get offended and hurt when they don’t perform to our standards out of sheer selfishness and pride in our own hearts.
      In those moments, it’s a good idea for us to accept a pat on the butt as a reminder that our husband wants to come back together with us and put that silly matter behind us. Whether it was his selfishness setting standards, or ours, we both need some flexibility to just come back together instead of spiraling into a long drawn out discussion that isn’t really needed because we already realize, it was silly and not worth the division.

      I hope that makes a little more sense where I was going 🙂

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