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Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

The newlywed series: Saying sorry

Categories: love, marriage


Last week, I received an email from a long-time reader — both of my personal site and this here column — and she was looking for some advice.

Remember when I commented “What’s so hard about marriage”?  Ha!  Ha ha ha ha!  I was so naïve.  And it hasn’t even been 2 months!

Month 1 - awesome.  Honeymoon.

Month 2 - ouch.

I was totally unprepared.  We had lived together for a year so I really didn’t know what would change.  That was not so bright on my part - we had discussed what would change!

I’m not really writing for advice per se, more so because you write a marriage blog and maybe these are a couple of topics you might be interested in.

I told her that I consider her a friend, and I’m never too busy for friends, but I could always start a “newlyweds series.” I am no expert (NOT AT ALL) but I survived the newlywed stage, as did family and friends of mine, and I could do my best to provide commentary/resources/feedback from you other lovely readers.

So, that’s where we’re at over here.

Her first question was this one:

How do you say you’re sorry?  I said some stuff that was very hurtful.  Of course, I said I was sorry a lot.  I don’t think it’s really okay.  I mean, we will get through it, but it will be a while before things are back to normal.

Conflict is not my favorite, but I will bring up stuff in the hopes that it can be talked about, hashed out and resolved. I am also one who says sorry for breathing too loud. My husband avoids conflict AT ALL COSTS which can cause issues. He’s come a long way in eleven years of marriage and gets big kudos for it.

That aside, we’ve both done/said stupid things for which we are sorry about. If the apology is sincere, then I think that the onus is on the recipient of the grievance/apology to “man up” (or “woman up”) and accept the apology. There is no need to torture the one who is sorry by making them suffer. I’m not assuming that your husband is doing so, but just wanted to throw that out there.

I don’t know what was said. If it was something that was really hurtful, wounds take time to heal, even if he has accepted your apology. My best advice is to just show love to him with words and actions and by living your lives together.

Do you have any advice for our friend? Or have newlywed questions you’d like to throw into the ring?

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3 comments so far...

  • I can’t offer advice since I’m not married yet but I like this idea for a series! I may have questions in a few short months.

    K  |  September 30th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

  • What a great idea for a series! I’ve ben married 3.5 years now. For US (major caveat, you have to figure out how you partner works) it works best to sincerely apologize, then move on. Sometimes constant apologizing just brings up the issue again and makes things worse. Often really hurtful words just need time. Apologize, and don’t do it again! The way to really move forward is to show your partner that that was an isolated incident and you love them.

    Tia  |  September 30th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  • Yes, and if you’ve been the one who was hurt and then apologized to, and you accepted the apology and offered forgiveness, sometimes when the hurting words come back from memory and you’re having trouble letting go, you have to make the mental effort to remind yourself of the apology, of the the forgiveness and move on. Grudge holding never helps anyone.

    Great series!

    Danica  |  September 30th, 2011 at 11:02 pm