Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Forgive Him, Forgive Him Not

In a survey I recently conducted I asked over 100 women: “If your husband/boyfriend is responsible for getting you very upset. What is the one or only thing he could do to get your forgiveness?”

Well, women stopped at nothing to express exactly what they expect from their mates. One woman said she literally puts her foot down, since the only thing her guy could do to get her forgiveness is to take her shoe shopping. While there were quite a few interesting responses, the most common were: a mate saying “I’m sorry” and really means it; and, a mate showing how sorry he truly is by buying an extravagant gift.

A few women were primarily concerned with the reason that led to their mates having to ask for forgiveness. They strongly believed that a barrage of “I’m sorry” and gifts would not fix a broken problem, but, understanding the offense instead, is a start to earning forgiveness. Some indicated that time or therapy could fix the problem, while others concluded, “Payback would be a b**ch.”

There was a single response I found to be the most enlightening. It was from a woman who has been married for over 17 years. She supported all of the aforementioned, noting that she and her husband have been through an enormous amount of trials, which only made them stronger in the end.

In no particular order, here are a few of the most provocative responses I received.
“Apologize sincerely.”

“To get my forgiveness he needs to really show me that he understands "why "I am angry. He needs to let me know that he has really thought about whatever was done to make me angry and why what was done is not ok. As a woman, his woman, I want to know that my opinion counts and that he takes my feelings into consideration. If what he has done is purposeful, he would have to make me understand why he chose to do what he did to get my attention. I have to really believe that he wishes to communicate and not just say whatever he needs to say to get me past the point of anger.”

“A sincere apology normally works for me, and he has to ask for forgiveness, then we’d have to openly discuss what led to the disagreement in the first place...”

“The shoe shopping doesn’t work. My ex would always do something for me, like make a nice dinner or buy me flowers or a book store gift card or something when he messed up, and it got to the point where I'd come in and not eat the food or leave the flowers on the table, because I really wanted to hear him just say and mean he’s sorry. I know different people have different ways of expressing it, but after 10 yrs of marriage I felt like it needed to be expressed in a way that worked for "me", not him. Being apologetic is about humbling yourself in some way and if you can't do it in a way that means something to the recipient, than, are you truly trying to apologize or just get things back in order?”

“Actions speak louder than words...A person can say, "I'm sorry" and not mean it. How many times have you heard those words only to be hurt again? I say, "Don't tell me you are sorry, show me..."

“When my fiancé tells me that he is sorry, he truly means it. He also gives me head-to-toe body massages and fries me a mean Porgie!”

“Merely saying "I'm sorry" won't cut it, especially if it was a repetitive behavior. To get my trust, he would have to demonstrate that he would not repeat that behavior. Example: Let's say he uses the Lord's name in vein, which I would have an issue with. He could say I'm sorry, but in the future, refrain from ever using the Lord's name, knowing it offends me.”

“Actions do speak louder than words, most of the times. It depends on the man. Actions were his cop out. Admitting he was wrong was a major issue for him. Like I said, I think the "doing" was more about getting the house back in order in terms of peace for him. It wasn't about me. We were married 14 yrs and he actually mouthed the words maybe 3 times and it was heartfelt.”

“Apologize deeper than words. It needs to be reflected in his actions. Translation: DON'T DO THAT ISH NO MO'!!”

“If he is keen enough to know that I am upset, he should (1) back off for the time being; (2) be prepared to let me verbally lash out if I have to. The forgiveness is already there, it just needs time to come into being. If we do it out of sync, the possibilities of rectification will be found to be not worth it or in need of therapy.”

“If my husband got me upset, the only thing that he would need to do to make amends is to acknowledge and apologize. Sincerity is key!!”

“If your significant other has hurt you, then it coming out in the open is punishment enough, if he is a decent man. And if he is a good man, he will not wait until he has committed an offense to provide material trappings. A sincere apology will do.”

“Take me to the spa for the day and end it with kisses and love.”

“I have been with my husband for 17 years and married since ’99. I do not think that there is much that I have not dealt with during our years together: infidelity, women threatening me, loss all our money, but we are stronger for it all, but trust he had to apologize with his mouth and his credit cards.”

“I found out the hard way that you can't gloss over something by a "sorry." Once the issue is addressed, you can move on.”
Survey Conducted by Denrique Preudhomme


Anonymous said...

O ossie a sinceere apology and spend time with her doing something that she likes. I think that time is best spent talking about what's next rather than dwelling om what happened.
Gifts are often a ruse. If a guy gets away with something and can buy his way out of it, chances are he will do it again and again and the"gifts" wull get cheaoer and cheaoer before disappearing. That's a license for him to err again.
In short, a sinceere apology and some chill time. Time will tell whether or not I was honest about it. Works for me.

Timothy N. Stelly Sr.

Marc A. Medley said...

Let's be sure to be equal opportunity. Females are not the only ones made to be upset by the opposite sex. Males are made upset by females also. I don't necessarily subscribe to this having to buy gifts to show that you are sorry. I agree with the sincere apology. Everyone is human and is subject to mistakes. It is also helpful to realize that a relationship will not always be peaches and cream. There will be times when folks disagree, get angry, become upset, etc. etc. etc. The real issue is, how do you handle the anger, the upset, the hurt, etc etc. Is there something deeper at the root? Do you need better and more sincere communications? Having been in a marital relationship for 20 years prior to divorcing, I can truly write Diary of a Mad Black Man and in fact if one were to hear my reasons as to why the relationship fell apart without knowing that I was man, might would think I was a female, given that the issues that were important to me are usually raised by females. Getting one upset is not a one way street. You can rest assured there are just as many men who are being upset by women as there are women being upset by men. I say again, it's not the getting upset that is the issue, it is how the upset is handled. The buying of gifts and shoes really don't mean much if the behavior is not changing. If true change does not occur, it's time for someone to go.

Anonymous said...

Denrique, thanks for posting the comments. It sounds like, by and large, most people feel that gifts and "sorry's" alone won't fix the problem. The blogs were very enlightening.