I can’t remember the problem that started the fireworks that day. My husband and I have had little contention in our marriage, but that particular morning we were both feeling stress, and we said some very unkind things to each other.
I left in a huff, and as I drove to the elementary school where I taught, I was blinking back tears. My mind was full of frustration and self-pity. Everything that had happened was my husband’s fault, I thought. Why couldn’t he have said he was sorry?
Driving into the school parking lot, I tried to get control of my feelings, knowing I had to face a classroom full of eight-year-olds in less than an hour.
As I said a silent prayer to help me prepare to meet my students, my anger and frustration seemed to drain away. These emotions were replaced by remorse as I tried to review the events of the morning objectively; I came to the conclusion that our confrontation had not been my husband’s fault. It had been mine.
Oh, how I regretted sending him off with my unkind words still in his mind!
I wanted to call him at work and apologize, but the only telephone available was in the school’s office, and I knew that when I heard his voice I would cry. Crying in front of the office staff, parents, and children would not project the image of stability I tried to foster as a teacher. Instead, I resolved that I would write my husband a loving note later that day asking his forgiveness. And that night, I would fix him one of his favorite meals, with the apple pie that he liked so much for dessert. This left me at peace with myself because I was going to try in my own way to rectify the mistake I had made. I looked forward to the evening and fulfilling my resolve. About 11 a,m., there was a knock on the door of my classroom. When I opened it, I found a florist holding a large flower box. Inside it there were a dozen red roses and a note that said: “I’m so sorry about this morning. What happened was all my fault. Please forgive me. Your loving husband.”
I was teary eyed for only a moment, then managed to regain my composure. Later, I fixed him that special dinner I had planned and made my own apology.
We both learned a very humbling lesson that day about the importance of taking responsibility for our own actions rather than placing the blame for difficulties on the other person. A simple “I’m sorry” from either of us that morning could have quickly and happily resolved the situation.
It is a lesson we have not forgotten. Now when some disagreement arises, we each try to ask ourselves if we would rather be loving to someone we will live with for eternity or be right in this particular instance. Being loving keeps winning out.