Always Sorry....Never Changing: sound familiar? Read how Justin and Trisha eventually solved this problem in their marriage.
About three months before the affair started, Trisha and I got into one of, if not the biggest arguments we’d ever had. Our disagreement started out small but continued to escalate and get louder and more mean as the night went on. I inherited a pretty volatile temper from my dad, so even though I don’t like conflict, my fuse was pretty short, especially when it came to Trish. I don’t remember what our argument was about, but I do remember how it ended. I said, “You are such a b*tch.”
She was done. I realized I had crossed a line. We went to our separate corners.
Later that night, I went to apologize. We were sitting in the hallway outside our bedroom. I said, “I want you to know I am really sorry. I’m sorry for yelling. I’m sorry for calling you names. I’m really sorry.” Trish said, “You are always sorry. You just never change.” I remember feeling so hopeless in that moment. That statement was so true. It was not only true about me, it was true about both of us. We were always sorry, but we never changed.
Unfortunately, it took the affair and our separation for us to move beyond being sorry and to move into being changed. One of our biggest areas of conflict has always centered around money. Trisha would go to Target and buy $40 worth of toiletries and I would go off about how much money she spent. We would get into an argument that would end the same way every argument would end…both of us feeling sorry but hopeless to change.
What I realized when we were separated is that change comes when I am sorry for more than just my behavior. I was always sorry for yelling. I was always sorry for cussing. I was always sorry for my short temper. I was always sorry for overreacting. It wasn’t until I was sorry for the condition of my heart that I was able to change. My issue wasn’t the $40 that Trish spent at Target…my issue is that I am a control freak and don’t like feeling out of control of our money. So it didn’t matter if it was $10 or $400 the argument and my reaction were always the same. Once I identified the core problem in my heart, I asked God to heal that part of me, I was able to change my reaction.
Maybe today you are in a place where you feel like you are always apologizing, but you are never changing. You’re temper is as bad today as it was four years ago. You have the same arguments today that you had when you first got married. You are sorry for going off on your kids. You are sorry for getting home late. You are truly sorry for screaming and yelling. You’re sorry…you just aren’t changing.
Can I encourage you today to look deeper. Look beyond your behavior; look beyond your reaction; look beyond your argument and look inside your heart. There is brokenness in you that is driving your behavior. That is what God longs to heal. That is what God longs to make new.
Your apology can lead to change. It won’t be overnight, but it will come.