Who apologises first, husband or wife?
Some years ago, an 18-year-old girl came to see me in a city in Africa. Her parents had some quarrels about ten years earlier and since then, they refused to talk to each other though they lived in the same house. They lived in the same house for 10 years without even saying good morning to each other. Both of them felt they were right and none was willing to be the first to apologise. As I was about to get into a state of surprise about what I had just heard, my mind went to another couple I know very well who had not spoken to each other for over seven years, even though they live in the same house. Both were waiting for an unreserved apology from each other.
Who apologises first after a quarrel? Is it the husband or the wife? Something about a disagreement or a quarrel is that both parties feel that they are right. It is rare for a person to argue or quarrel with another person without believing that he or she is right. Some culturally over-powered men believe that a man should not be the first to apologise, whether he is right or not. When I was growing up, my mother was always the one who apologised. She did not like it at all, but she had to do it because she wanted peace in our home. But I was surprised some years ago, when a woman said during testimony time in the church I pastor in Lagos that she had never apologised to her husband, until she joined the church.
There are many women out there, who believe that apologising to their husband is a sign of weakness. They believe it will make the man take undue advantage of them. Some men think that only weak men apologise to their wives. Do not be shocked to hear words like “me? Apologise to a woman? Who born am”?
Whatever your belief system may be, I plead with you today to bring it under the word of God. In Col 3:12,13, which says “put on therefore,… bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, … being gentle to one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, do the same also” Who then apologises first? The more mature among the two apologises first and should continue to apologise. But the fact remains that it is very childish and uncivilized for a man or a woman not to know how to apologise.
A woman once complained “I am the one who always apologise to my husband. He does not know how to say I am sorry. After an argument, he will withdraw, sulk and begin to read newspapers or watch any football match old or live on TV. If I do not go to him, put my hands on his shoulder, kiss his cheeks, smile at him and say I am sorry, he can sulk or behave like a baby for weeks.”
To women like this, I say congratulations. It means your formula is working. Now that you know he behaves like a baby, then keep babying him. This is wisdom. I would like you to add patience to your wisdom in babying your husband, who is an adult physically, but a baby spiritually and emotionally. If the wife is the spiritually and emotionally weak and immature one, then the husband should keep petting her with his “I’m sorry,” until she grows up, just as the woman in our church grew up and started to apologise.
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