It’s So Hard to Say Sorry…Sometimes

With five kids who are dual citizens, US and Filipino, Edric and I have to visit the US Embassy and Department of Foreign Affairs more often than most parents have to….more often than we would like to. Whether it’s getting a consular report of birth abroad, passport, or renewing an expired passport, we have to be in the US embassy or DFA almost every year.

I dread preparing all the paperwork which can be so tedious and time consuming. However, the most stressful aspect of it all is getting from our home to the different government facilities on time.

Now that we live in the QC area instead of Global City, we need to give ourselves a generous amount of time to travel. Today our appointment was at 7:45 am to renew Elijah and Titus’ passports. So Edric said we had to leave by 5:45 am.

We went to bed pretty early last night but Catalina didn’t do too well so I wasn’t very perky at 5:20 am. Usually, I can get ready in twenty to thirty minutes. I am a no frills kind of person so I don’t need to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. (I don’t even own a hair dryer…I should probably get one. But my hair is so wispy it dries quickly.)

Edric and Elijah were in our van by 5:50. I didn’t get down till about 6:00. Titus came a few minutes after. At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal but Edric looked at me disapprovingly. He thought I didn’t have a sense of urgency. When we got out of our village, he began expressing his annoyance, pointing to the traffic and saying, “Five minutes matters.” I was just quiet. The cars were moving pretty slowly. Uh oh.

When we got to Makati, he made a comment about the traffic again and said, “See, see, we are not going to make it. You can forget the embassy. You probably should rebook our schedule.”

Whoa. What was up with his doomsday perspective?!

“Why do you have to be so negative?” was my response.

“Because I used to work in Makati. I know what the traffic is like.” He had one of those irritated but restrained faces, like he was trying very hard not to be angry with me. (I need to give credit to him for this because he has changed a lot. He tries to be more quiet when he is irked with me so he can process his emotions.)

I retaliated a little, “So what do you want from me?”

“Say sorry.”

Huh? For 10 minutes? Come on.
I didn’t want to. I was quiet.

Instead of saying sorry right away, I prayed for mercy. “Lord, please, please can you help us make it there on time? Please show me mercy.” But my motivations were wrong. I wanted to make it just to show Edric that he was being over the top about my 10-minute lateness.

How could I ask for mercy if I wasn’t willing to say sorry?! I knew that God wouldn’t honor that prayer because my heart wasn’t right.

Why was it so hard to say sorry anyway?

I did a self-analysis…

I don’t seem to have a difficult time asking for forgiveness from relatives, friends, and others. But when it comes to Edric, I struggle with saying sorry sometimes.

Why? PRIDE.

This morning, I knew I was late but I also thought…give me a break, I prepared all the documents and went through all the trouble — photocopying, getting photos done, going through their records, filling out the forms. There was no thank you for that. I also had to wake up for our baby and she cried this morning so I couldn’t get ready as quickly. Furthermore, did my lateness merit his dark-cloud comments? Like we were NEVER going to make it to the embassy because of me?

God convicted me that I was just rationalizing. I was late so I needed to apologize for that. That was the issue. If we agreed on 5:45 I should have been in the van at that time. It doesn’t matter what circumstances caused my tardiness. It didn’t even matter that Edric was asking for an apology in a manner that didn’t suit my preferences. I WAS LATE. I should have just said, “Will you forgive me for being late?”

My thoughts were…Are you a child of child? Do you belong to him? Stop wrestling with the demon of pride. You need to learn to humble yourself. Do you want God’s blessing? Do you want to make it to the embassy?!

Yes, yes, yes, yes!

I turned towards Edric and said, “Honey, will you forgive me for being late?”

It wasn’t so hard after all. It came out pretty well and I didn’t gag on those words!

Of course Edric forgave me. He always does.

I asked for the Lord’s mercy again. This time it wasn’t about proving that I wasn’t such a bad person. I really didn’t want to go through the hassle of rescheduling our appointment. God was merciful indeed! He allowed us to make it to the embassy on time, with some minutes to spare before our appointment. A nice plus was the kindness and courtesy extended to us by the officials who processed our paperwork. One of the officials was a viewer of Edric’s show and he was extra gracious to us, giving us his email so we could coordinate with him directly for our children’s
Social Security numbers.

God is so good!

As I was reflecting on the events of the morning, I remembered the beautiful wedding we attended last Sunday night. The officiating pastor for the first part of the ceremony (who also happened to be my dad) gave three principles for marriage — commitment, communication, and forgiveness.

He said that these were non-negotiable in a marriage. And the enemy of marriage is selfishness, which is just another name for pride.

Saying sorry to Edric when I made a mistake even if I didn’t feel like I did something “very bad” was absolutely necessary. Why? First, Edric expressed to me that I needed to say sorry for being late so I shouldn’t have been defensive. I was late. End of discussion. I should have acknowledged his perspective and communicated the desire to improve and change.

Second, when self-centered thinking started to invade my consciousness, I should have fought it off right away. (Saying a sincere sorry immediately is one of the antidotes to having a hard heart.)

Third, when I got married I made a commitment to Edric before God to be his wife. This may not seem like an epiphany but what does it mean to be a committed wife?

A committed wife is humble. A committed wife knows how to say sorry. A committed wife wants to get better as the years go by. A committed wife receives correction with grace no matter how it is delivered. A committed wife pleases God with the thoughts she entertains about her husband and her actions towards him. And a committed wife receives God’s favor.

God could have allowed us to be late so that I learn a painful lesson. But he was merciful and gracious to me. When I admitted that I was prideful and apologized to Edric there was a peace that came from God…a peace that we would make it to our appointment and all would be well. This peace would have evaded me if I hadn’t responded to the Lord’s conviction to ask for forgiveness.

It is hard to say sorry sometimes (in marriage) but I am learning that when it is, it’s usually because I am prideful, selfish and refuse to honor my commitment to be a good wife to my husband. If I want God’s favor and hand of blessing in my life and marriage then I need to reject these ungodly inclinations and focus on doing what I know God wants me to and stop making excuses!

The wonderful bonus to all of this is Edric apologized to me too for being reactive. Praise God!

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I am committed to this guy no matter what!

Comments

  1. Thank you for this wonderful blog. Saying a sincere sorry is really difficult, especially to me because most of the time I try to avoid mistakes and disappointing a lot of people. It’s inconvenient and troublesome to make mistakes, as well as very irritating to me.

    But there was a time a made a huge mistake in my attitude towards people I love, sometimes all I see is others mistake rather than mine. And how I wished we never fought over those things… and months passed by without expressing my apologies to the people I hurt (directly and indirectly). How I regret those things? If only I had just said a sincere “Sorry”.

    The thing I learned here is that, yes, we make mistakes, and if God has forgiven us from our major mistakes and sins, we should also emulate His character of forgiving and asking forgiveness (but God never makes mistakes) which is a product of humility. In these situations, I realised that my default attitude when I make mistake is to ask forgiveness. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Thank you and God bless, Ate Joy and Kuya Edric! 😀

  2. The word Sorry is VERY powerful. I am very easy to apologize because i know it starts the healing process quickly. I am not shy to admit when I am wrong but there are times that – I’d expect people to do the same to me. And it almost always, never happens. But what I learned is – say sorry anyway. ITs by that act that you can show how you can accept that you made a mistake..

  3. A simple word but it means a lot and makes a big difference. wonderful write up. i’d like to read this over and over again to remind me.. thanks Mommy Joy. I admire your family and your husband is very gorgeous!

  4. I’m like Edric. I sometimes get reactive and i always end up regretting it.
    It’s like I react on impulse and say “We won’t make it and it’s your fault”
    Then when I calm down, i realize that there are actually ways to resolve the situation.
    It’s just panic.
    I ask my husband to be to recognize when I am at my stage of panic and just be a little forgiving.

  5. Mitch Lamorena says:

    Hi Ms. Joy – for me with my Mom. As to everyone else, I will just take a deep breath, pray and gulp and say sorry – genuinely as God through your father, PTC, says do it genuinely and with heart in every message that contains how to be genuinely sorry or humble. But when it comes to my mom – it will take several gulp, breath, or prayer, or still quietness of saying sorry. Thank you fo this note.

  6. My daughter’s US Passport has expired ask ko lang po how you did it? Can you share what kinds of documents do you need to prepare?

  7. Jillian Balleza says:

    This came just in time. Same thing happened to me and my husband earlier with a different issue. I felt that I needed space so I tried keeping quiet the whole time. As a committed follower of Christ, I try to make sure I please only Him alone but I still loose myself most times. God has always shown mercy as He always finds me and leads me back home. I pray not only for me but for all the wives out there that they’ll be able to show their commitments to their husbands as Christ has exemplify. Wives, let us continue to draw strength from Christ to endure anything with grace. To God I give back all glory and honor. 🙂

  8. Couldn’t resist it anymore and must leave a comment to just say thank you for this. Apologizing can be really difficult at times especially with the people whom we love. At times because of pride and sometimes shame.

    I’m blessed to have read this story and was able to freely apologize to a friend who I’ve done wrong. I hope and pray that God would bless your marriage and family even more. May more lives be touched through you and this blog of yours.

    God bless you!

  9. Hi! Is that a splint or a nightguard on the table?

  10. Ayen Ignacio says:

    Thanks for this. Truly, it’s not so easy to say “I’m sorry” but with God’s grace, it can be possible.
    Thanks again Mommy Joy. More blessings to you and your wonderful family.

  11. Thank you Joy for sharing this. Very encouraging.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m convicted. Many times, I also find it hard to say sorry to my wife. Lord, please forgive me and grant me the grace & strength to say, I’m sorry. Thanks!

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