There are many of us–mostly men–who try and use the words “I’m sorry” as glue to mend a broken heart. It doesn’t work very well if you lack sincerity, or the character to make that apology a real, lasting change. Cheaters, those of us who neglect our duties, liars, abusers… Apology is often undeservedly accepted, over and over. And each time we abuse our mate’s indulgence, we weaken the words “I’m sorry” until it no longer has meaning.
Apologies, repentance, and forgiveness are the glue that binds relationships together. And like a bone that breaks and heals, a relationship that has undergone stress and near-disasters–and overcome–will always bounce back stronger and stronger. The important word here is “bounce back”; when a couple decides to stay together, one apologizes and the other forgives, they have made the decision to stick it out where others would flee. A relationship that has not experienced this is as unstable as a prizefighter’s untested chin–no one knows if your ship will withstand the storm if you’ve never seen and survived rough waters.
We are imperfect beings. God did not make us perfect. He allows man to have free will and make mistakes, and this is why we have a heaven and hell, good and bad. Sometimes we forget that our lovers make mistakes. No, sometimes we forget that WE make mistakes. And regardless of how “perfect” we try to be in relationships, we are all carrying some type of baggage. Some of us carry anger, some carry suspicion, some carry the worry that what the last one did to us will appear in this new mate. People mess up, and even if one cheats, it can all be overcome if both of you want to give it a shot. The anger or disappointment in relationships that end them is often due to the realization that this woman or this man isn’t perfect. When we see that mistake, we are so upset that our mate is not as stain-free as we’d hoped, some of us move on not realizing that we had just missed an opportunity to see this person grow into the kind of person we need. Understand and expect there to be these conflicts, but also know which kind of conflicts you will work through and which ones you won’t.
When we mess up, we must approach our mates with complete humility. We have to. The Prophet Muhammad likened humility in asking forgiveness as a worker would approach his boss after being caught not doing his job. You don’t approach with an argumentative demeanor; you do it with the real worry that you will lose your position if your boss chooses not to keep you. Often when we violate our relationship’s rules, we have too much pride to be truly humble when we apologize. And in this case, it is no longer an apology, is it? Understand that when your mate decides to accept–or not–the choice is his or hers, and if you want this relationship strongly enough you must be willing to do whatever it takes to keep it.
Doing “whatever is takes to keep it” is not just for semantics. This means we may have to give up some freedom and privacy, if that’s what it takes to keep her. We may have to agree to lose a friend or two. We might have to change our routine, give up something we like to do–whatever it takes. In my marriage to my 4th wife, who was seriously insecure, I was performing at local poetry events and among the most requested poems were my erotic poems. When I recited them, the ladies in the audience reacted in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. Regardless of what kind of marriage she and I had, she was my wife. So of course, it was requested–and I obliged–to stop doing those kinds of poems, and eventually, stopped performing. Whether or not this request was unreasonable (it seemed unreasonable to me) was immaterial. You can’t leave your woman feeling insecure if you love her. Remember that when you have been forgiven, the work is not over. You will be asked not only to not do the ill deed again–you’ll be asked to change something. The fact that you were forgiven was a mercy from your mate, and you must be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work or you might as well not apologize at all. Baby take me back, and I will X, Y, Z. I promise. Make sure you mean it.
On the other side of this is the forgiveness part. God does not expect you to reconcile with a cheater. However, there is an extra blessing and protection given to those who will. See, as imperfect beings, we aren’t like God; He will forgive a murderer. One of the main differences is that He has the power to punish eternally. We don’t. The only thing we can do is break up, cuss em out, and make their life hell. Or we can forgive. When you forgive your mate, and your mate is a good man or good woman, you now have a few extra points on them because you extended this to them when you didn’t. If they are a good woman/man, they are indebted to you to make things right, to pay penance for the hurtful act. I am convinced that when you forgive your mate, and they truly want to regain your trust and restore your edification of them, you end up with a better husband or wife than before. A man who is truly remorseful for lying to his woman or cheating on her, will do all he can to: 1. Show her that he is trustworthy, and 2. Make up for the pain her caused her by being more of a better spouse to her than before. It pays to forgive where others have not, because of the change that comes with being the forgiven on:. One who received the merciful blessing of finding a mate who loves them so much they have forgiven us.
And there is no penalty for not accepting your mate’s apology. The only benefit is that you get to “get them back” by breaking up with them, and that you get to have the wonderful experience of going through this crap with someone new. Because, believe me–the next guy or gal will. Everybody will mess up sooner or later. We aren’t perfect. Some people discard relationships over and over because of forgivable acts, thinking the next one won’t make any mistakes at all.
The million dollar question is this: Do you love him or her enough to allow the words “I’m sorry” to glue a broken heart back together? Only you know.
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