The Unintentional Disconnector

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Imagine going out on a date, talking about those good ol’ days or just holding hands under a blanket of stars, and suddenly “ding!”, a notification! or “beep beep” a text message from work that you “just have to” check. How would … Continue reading

I’m Sorry, Will You Forgive Me?

I grew up in an environment where saying sorry is cheesy and unnecessary. Things just eventually work out sooner or later.

Back when I was younger.. Had a big fight with my older sister that involved some unladylike behavior? After a week we talk normally, as if an explosion didn’t just occur a few days before. Got into an argument with my mom? The next day one of us just asks a question, then it’s back to regular programming and the relationship will be restored. Or so we would like to think.

In one of the lessons in GLC 2 as Jason cascaded to me before, family life is a priority. To have a good relationship with our parents, siblings, children, etc. This is our first ministry.

With that in mind, I was set to tie loose ends before I get married and start a family of my own. So one day (I think back in 2012), I was convicted to apologize to my mom after a heart-to-heart discussion. Both of us were in tears and I remembered my mom saying after I apologized for the things I’ve disappointed her with, “It’s okay we’re family, it’s understood already” In Filipino “‘Di na kailangan yun, alam naman na natin yun”. I felt relieved. It took so much effort to say “I’m sorry” I was so glad that it was over.

I felt that my mom’s intention was good as I believe she accepted my apology, shrugged it off and made it no big deal. But later on in married life, my husband and I realized saying sorry is just the tip of the iceberg.

During our first year in marriage, saying sorry was still a struggle (at times until now), even with Jason. If Jason did something to offend me example say something embarrassing about me to others (which I believe he was just joking, being the joker he is), I make sure that he knows it. He would then answer me back with a question that puts me on the spot! As if I were the one who made the mistake! When I couldn’t articulate myself and the tables would turn on me, it would leave me frustrated and too angry I could cry ending with the words “Is it too hard to say I’m sorry?” In Filipino, “Ganun ba kahirap sabihin ang sorry?”. That was all what I wanted.

Of course I am rebuked with what I said because yes it is hard to say I’m sorry. (BoyzIIMen)   Even I would catch myself giving excuses after I do something wrong example raise my voice at Jason (till he backs down, sorry) or other things.

I don’t know when it happened. One day after some arguing to see who’s got the most explanations up his or her sleeve, Jason suddenly said, I’m sorry (minus all my frustration, anger, crying and “is it too hard to say i’m sorry?” dialogue).

I was surprised. In the following days or whenever some fights would occur, I was shocked to see Jason initiate those words. Even when I would sometimes provoke him after his apology, he would say I’m sorry… the next part was.. “Will you Forgive Me?”

What was I to say?? My pride told him, “I’ll think about it” but of course the next day I would tell him that I do forgive him and I also apologize.

I believe this sparked some change in our crazy cycle of arguments. By Jason modeling how it is to say sorry. It took some time but when my husband – the leader of our family, comes to me in humility, my wall of pride is slowly crumbling and I become unguarded and softhearted.

I guess this applies to all relationships.. If you’re the one who feels disappointed and hurt, be the one to say sorry. If you feel discouraged, encourage others (nick vujicic, life without limits). Even with employer-employee relationship, parents and children, managers and the people they manage. When the leader is unwilling, even the followers will grow cold. But when the leader shows humility, this changes the course of the relationship. Because even leaders make mistakes. It’s better to come in humility than be unyielding when they make a mistake. Humility isn’t weakness in fact it saves us from disgrace.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

It’s so much easier to move on with our lives after arguments, after a misunderstanding with our loved ones, workmates, and friends. Later on though, those unresolved matters puts tiny dents in our relationships that will blow up later on. It’s so easy to leave it at that for the meantime, but it takes someone strong to confront a situation and be genuinely sorry and apologize.

The apology is a way of accepting responsibility for our behavior and expressing regret – Dr. Gary Chapman, Love Language Minute Devotional.

Soon it’s becoming a practice in our relationship. Saying sorry is not enough (at least for us). There must be a confession of what offense we committed, and then the question, “will you forgive me?” and usually a probation period. :p

Sometimes we just say sorry for the sake of saying it. “SORRY na nga eh!” (I said i was sorry!) or “‘Di ba nag sorry na ko?” (Didn’t I just say I was sorry???)

In our marriage, there must be a question if the other party has truly forgiven the offender.  Or else we might just be saying sorry for the sake of ourselves than for the person we offended. Marriage is not about me. Marriage is about YOU.

Marriage is about Jason (for me) and Marriage is about Gia (for Jason).

Now we know that these are the 2 phrases important to keep our marriage healthy, (because in marriage we will make mistakes and apology is necessary for good relationships according to Dr. Gary Chapman), we mustn’t abuse it and just go through the motion of “I’m Sorry will you forgive me” speech.

It’s important to have a relationship with God, because only God can truly impress in our hearts the faults we have done, we’re doing, and we are contemplating to make. Only God can compel us to feel truly sorry and even identify what fault we made. Even if I am stubborn refusing to apologize after a heated argument with Jason. When I come to God in prayer, He tugs at my heart to be humble and apologize. I often get no sleep and have no rest for my soul when things are left unresolved and I suppose this goes for my husband too.

So whenever I’m feeling pride in my heart I know it’s best to come to and learn from the one who has perfected humility. That King who came down here on earth to live a life unfit for royalty and even chose to be crucified – to die for the sins of many, Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 11:29 He says, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

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Emotional Hot Spots in Marriage

My husband and I love talking to each other…. a lot. And because of this familiarity with  each other we tend to be honest with each other. So honest to the point of not filtering what we say. We speak what’s on our mind. One moment we’re having fun and then the next we’d be frustrated and angry at one another.

There are nights when we’d wonder what went wrong? The day would begin right with quality conversations over breakfast and some jokes thrown on the table, then later we’d end up spiting each other. We’d say sorry and forgive each other the next day but then it would happen again.

It seemed to be a pattern. Later on I found out that there are what you call “emotional hot spots” as coined by Dr. Gary Chapman, that could trigger an argument.

“All of us have emotional hot spots wherein when our spouse does or says certain things, we get defensive – because our self-worth has been threatened.”

Conflicts in marriage are normal but the impact of those storms can be lessened if we prepare for it.

One way how we arm ourselves for the inevitable is to discuss what words we should be mindful of saying. I found out that one of my emotional hot spot is whenever my husband says “tapos na ko dyan (I’m done with that stage)”. I feel that my husband doesn’t understand where I am, he is belittling the situation I’m in, or that he disregards it. Of course he doesn’t intend to make me feel that way and his intentions are just to assure me that my situation is indeed no big deal. I do respect his wisdom and experience but whenever those words are spoken it just triggers my emotional hot spot.

When I asked my husband what is his emotional hotspot, one of which is when I compare him to others. If he could just be more like so and so. Or sometimes I hide it through dialogues like, “see? didn’t what he / she say sound better than if you were to say it in a certain way?” I found out that this disrespects him.

What I appreciate is that my husband is open to identify which words shuts us off and then we could learn how to communicate it better so it would reflect the best intentions of our heart.  Sometimes the intentions are good but the way we communicate it doesn’t reflect what we really mean.

Some couples on the other hand don’t have the liberty to discuss what their “emotional hot spots” are.

If however that is the case, I submit to what was taught in CCF regarding Reacting vs. Responding. That when something happens, we have a choice to React or to Respond. Reacting is out of impulse but responding is a well thought of action. Whenever our spouse then hits our emotional hot spot, we have a choice to 1. scream our head off or 2. understand where our spouse is coming from and extend grace to them.

We are still a work in progress and it is indeed a challenge to overcome our old ways and habits, we may sometimes still be affected when our emotional hot spots are triggered, but I am especially encouraged by this verse,

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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