I can only imagine the initial reactions to the title above. A few of you were probably thinking “oh hell no”, while others may have questioned “now why would I do something like that”? But believe me, it makes all the difference in how couples handle stressful situations and move forward.
The last thing we want to happen, when we’ve made a mistake, is to be constantly reminded of it or for our mate to harass us even further. We normally feel awful enough without the added pressure from the other person. We’re human so errors are bound to be made. But forgiveness and, believe it or not, the reward of comfort goes a long way. It’s easy to fuss, yell, point out the error and belittle our partner for making it. But the challenge is when we have an understanding of their embarrassment and look for ways to be supportive.
Now, I’m not speaking of those marriage-altering mistakes, like infidelity or cleaning out the family’s life savings. Those are different situations that require a more serious approach. I’m addressing those errors, that still have somewhat of an impact, but we do survive as a couple.
Last week, I experienced one of those moments. While driving with my oldest daughter in the car and not paying enough attention to the road, I looked away for a minute and slammed right into the car in front of me. Anyone who’s been in an accident knows the thoughts that run through your head. You beat yourself up, you play all the other scenarios that could have occurred in your mind and you just feel the shame of being so careless. Well, that’s exactly what I felt. Adding to that, what my husband was going to say about my lack of focus while driving with our child in the car and what the car actually looked like afterward. All the way home, I kept picturing his face and thinking of his disappointment.
But to my surprise, he didn’t do or say any of what I thought. He could have fussed, snapped, questioned my judgment, or just been downright pissed. Instead, he held me in his arms. He asked if we were hurt, I said no, and he said okay then. I found this was exactly what I needed. Without him ever having to say it, I learned from this incident to be more careful, keep my eyes on the road and to pay closer attention. If he had of said that, I don’t know how receptive I would have been. But what he did in that moment, reminded me of all of that.
Now I don’t just take this position because I crashed the car. There’s something about love, and our motives and intentions when dealing with those we care the most about. I remember a mistake my husband made some years ago. And although we were both disappointed and frustrated, I knew it would be of no benefit to either of us for me to harp on it and point out his flaws in this situation. So I just rode it out; I didn’t bring it up, nor did I blame him. I am sure he felt responsible enough, where my adding to it would have done more harm than good. After we made it through that challenge, my husband thanked me for how I handled it. It made him feel good and did the same for me.
I’m not suggesting we enable our spouses, or give them an easy out for their errors. But I am challenging us to be more patient and loving during these moments. Whenever we communicate with our partners, we should also consider the outcome we desire. In the case of a lack of proper judgment, maybe we want our spouse to never make this mistake again. How that happens will be determined by how we support and encourage our mates with loving thoughts and words.
BMWK – Have you tried loving and encouraging your spouse through their mistakes? Does this approach work for you?
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