He came up behind me unexpectedly, and he wrapped his solid arms around my waist. His bearded chin rested on my left shoulder as he drew me closer into his warm embrace. It felt comfortable, familiar, like home, and the anger I had been holding onto started to evaporate like it had never been there at all. The rigidness of my body softened in the caress of his strength and love, and it was as if I melted like wax, his presence being the flame of my undoing.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered softly into my ear.
His apology a balm, the heat of his breath soothing, the warmth of his affection mending any broken fences. I rested there in his arms, surrendering to the greatest love I had ever known on this earth, opening my heart even more to his kindness.
I finally turned my head around, looking up into his tender, brown eyes. All the mad feelings that had been present just moments ago had vanished, pushed away by a stronger emotion.
I smiled up into his warm gaze, a place where I could become lost if I allowed it, and I said with a smirk, “we both a little crazy sometimes.”
He laughed, and we both knew it was forgotten. It was forgiven. Anger was let go, and the fight was over. All was as it should be. Thankfully.
I am not apologizing!
That is what I had thought before. In my mind, at the moment, I was always the first to say I’m sorry. Not this time! Nope, not gonna do it!
A ridiculous fight! That’s what it was. And I found it odd that our rare fights usually occurred over something minuscule and unimportant. It was like at work. I could handle the most stressful and tragic of situations, performing with a calm clarity when a serious or deadly predicament arouse. But if a computer froze or IV pump wouldn’t stop alarming, rage would build in me akin to some sort of Hulk-like explosion. Our occasional arguments were like that. We handled the stress of finances, the difficulties of parenting, and the uncertainty of life with ease, but introduce a conflict over which route to take home from the grocery store and we might just pull out the boxing gloves.
Yes, that’s what it had been, a silly disagreement over nothing of any real significance, but I had noticed over the years that even a pointless argument can be blown out of proportion when selfishness and the desire to be right took center stage.
His desire to be right, my stubbornness to not say sorry. My stance of silence, and his reciprocating, stoic, tight-lipped reply. Thoughts of selfish ambition, the certainty of one’s opinion being the best, and a stonewall emotional response. The temptation to say something hurtful, coupled with the fact that harsh words spoken cannot be reeled back in as easily as they’re cast. The choice between being right or being humble. The decision to stay silent, or the choice to speak surrender. The realization that relationship is more important than winning a fight. The ability to say I’m sorry, and the lifesaving healing of forgiveness.
Marriage isn’t easy, but then again, it’s not that hard. Perhaps we are the ones that make it more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes it’s as simple as an apology, or as easy as letting go. Perhaps it’s the realization that no one is perfect, nor should such a standard be expected. Maybe it’s as straightforward as letting anger go in favor of love, as uncomplicated as remembering our own idiosyncrasies and faults. It could even be something as effortless as understanding that we’re all a little crazy sometimes.