“I will always love you”, I can hear Whitney’s voice in my head now ( Sang Whitney Saaaang!). If that was the ALWAYS delivered in my marriage I would love that word, unfortunately I’ve learned (through personal experience) that always and never are words that seldom accompany life long promises of love and adoration after the actual wedding ceremony.
Instead those words are hurled out like venomous darts….
“You NEVER help me!”
“You’re ALWAYS complaining!”
It’s strange how often we use words that are so invariable when almost nothing in life can be described by words like that. Yet we use them in our relationships as tools to express frustration or disappointment, hoping that our partner will hear our needs and desires and change the behaviors that are deeply impacting us.
The reality though, is that when we say, or in some cases yell:
“I’M ALWAYS THE ONE TO SAY SORRY, YOU NEVER APOLOGIZE!”
We hurt ourselves in two big ways. First we destroy our own credibility. If for example, your partner ever issued one single apology, even if it was for something small like forgetting to bring you extra ketchup with your french fries, you just lost your argument. Likely your partner can quickly recall a time that he said sorry for an offense committed, and after that single recollection he is completely tuning you out or confronting you with how many times he actually did say sorry and how wrong you are to feel the way you do. So now instead of getting that apology or validation you were really hoping for you get an argument or even worse….silence.
The second way we hurt ourselves is that we hurt our partners. Say for example your partner had been really working hard at trying to say sorry, maybe even last week he sent you a short text saying he was sorry for being short with you on the phone because he was trying to rush into a meeting. When you said those two very powerful words you sucked the wind right out of your partner’s sail. If before he was trying to make a greater effort to seek forgiveness, he will probably stop, because essentially you told him that all his effort was pointless and a complete waste of time.
The tongue really does have the power of life and death. If you aren’t careful instead of your words being the nutrients and water your relationship needs to grow, they will be like poison, destroying the root and the very foundation your love was built on.