Monday, August 29, 2011

Miscommunication---and saying Sorry

I was just talking with my mom a few minutes ago about how important it is for men to say they are sorry. It is simply needed in relationships. Of course girls need to say it too...but it means more to the woman if the man doesn't say it. To my mom I pointed out: "Chris says sorry all of the time." She laughed at the thought, so I went on to explain. It doesn't necessarily mean he was wrong but that he understands that what he did or said hurt me, even if he didn't mean he is sorry. And he means it (that's important too). To emphasize my point I told her a story which I want to share so I will remember it:

Sometime this summer we were having dinner and dessert at a friends house on a Monday night. If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints you may not know that Monday nights are set aside as a family night for Family Home Evening, or FHE. We used to do combined FHE often when we were newly married and when Sebastian was young and didn't really get much out of the lessons so we had lessons with our friends so that we could start the tradition early, before our kids even could participate. Anyway, FHE normally includes a lesson (including scriptures and songs), an activity, and the beloved treat. Our friends had invited US over so I didn't do any of the planning. We had a great time eating dinner together then the kids went off and played in the basement while the adults played a game. After a while the kids came up and we all had dessert. While we were eating I asked, "Anyone have a quick lesson they could share??" So that we could still keep the foundation of FHE intact for the week. Chris was the only one who replied, and he replied with "Don't Be Dumb."

I was hurt. Chris NEVER talks like that to me. I tried to justify his behavior, he said it laughingly like he thought it was funny to call my idea dumb. I thought maybe he was trying to be funny in front of our friends...but he had taken it too far. Normally, I would react instantly and set him straight. But seeing as they didn't come to my rescue either, I figured I would just let it slide and tried not to think about it. The rest of the night went fine and we had a nice visit with our friends and with our kids together and we went home.

At least a day passes by, if not more, and it keeps coming up into my mind. I can't let go of it. It was so out of his character. It really hurt that he had treated me that way, justifications aside. We were about to do something together (I bet it was Wednesday night b/c that's our first free night together after Monday) and somehow I found a way to bring it up. I prefaced myself so I didn't come off mad and I hoped he wouldn't be mad at me for bringing up something that was probably forgotten to him. But I said it, and told him how it made me feel. His first response was to contradict it. He would never say that. But when I reassured him that I was certain he said just that. He thought back to the situation and then I think he probably let out a simple laugh as he went on to explain.

He had said "Don't be dumb," but he wasn't talking to me in the way he thought he was. He was giving me what I wanted, a lesson. "Don't Be Dumb" was his idea of a quick lesson for our kids. At that point I think I started to cry. I felt so relieved. And it made sense, I couldn't believe the misunderstanding. And it really had hurt me, but it didn't need to. Even though he wasn't in the wrong, he poured on the apologies for the fact that I thought that, that I felt that. He understood how I heard it and just plain felt bad. He went on to tell me that he wouldn't talk to me like that, and so on. His next comment was simply that he was impressed that I didn't call him out on it right then and there. Like I normally would. Then finally, "I hope our friends didn't take it that way!" I probably should clear that up, though I am not sure they even heard what had passed between us.

Anyway. It was a great moment. I felt so relieved. I am so glad that I didn't just "let that one go" seeing as I couldn't actually let it go. It would have just kept eating at me, but for no reason. It is like that with a lot of things. Lots of books and counselors will tell you to let things go but, at least for a woman, that can be a hard thing to do. I find it healthier to simply say it like it is. As soon as is possible, let your spouse know that you were hurt so that they can either explain themselves or simply say sorry. When your spouse does the same thing to you....instead of getting defensive about how it wasn't your fault that they feel bad, just say sorry. That's all we really want to hear. We want to know that we are cared about and that our loved ones don't mean to or want to hurt us.

I am so grateful to my dear, sweet husband who is so loving to me. He says sorry all of the time. He tells me how great I am and how much I mean to him. He encourages me and loves me with all that he is. I am so lucky.


Rexburg Dicksons said...

thanks for is a good reminder for me that I need to communicate better w/ Nate.

painty (Melinda) said...

It's so true. Sincere apologies go a long way. That's a funny story! It made me laugh when you explained what Chris meant. Such a simple misunderstanding that makes a huge difference once you talked it out.

Marrott Family said...

Funny, when I was reading the story and when I read "Don't be dumb" for the first time, I understood it the way that Chris meant it. So, I bet your friends didn't even think it through. Bless your heart! Thanks for sharing your experience. Communication is so important! Miss you guys!