Three Words That Can Save Your Marriage

May 19, 2015

Guys hate asking for directions. You know the stereotype: The family is on vacation, and they are hopelessly lost in an unfamiliar place. Dad is behind the wheel and he’s convinced he can find his way. The wife helpfully suggest stopping to ask a local for directions, but the husband snaps back that he is perfectly capable of navigating and he doesn’t need any help. And on it goes.

Now, where did this stereotype come from? Is this really about men’s desire to be good navigators? Of course not. The real problem is that we men hate to admit we were wrong. 

What man wants to admit that he took the wrong exit? What man wants to admit his wife was right when she said turn right and not left? What man wants to admit he didn’t know what he was doing? I sure don’t!

Yes, admitting we were wrong is one of the hardest things for us men to do. The reason is simple: We all enter this world with defective and abnormally large egos. Without proper treatment, these egos manifest themselves in all manner of severe symptoms: Anger, impatience, unkindness, irritability, stubbornness, resentment, inconsiderateness, envy, etc. And guess what? All of those sins can place a great strain on our marriages.

You see, pride is the enemy of healthy relationships. It is the root sin behind a host of other toxic sins, all of which hurt those who are closest to us, especially our wives. Is your marriage struggling? It probably has something to do with pride. Believe me, unchecked pride can destroy a marriage faster than anything else. It is a disease that rots away the bonds of sacrificial, self-giving love that every marriage should be founded upon.

But not to worry, the Great Physician has a prescription for the deadly disease of pride, namely the three powerful but painful little words I referenced in the title of this post. What are they? “I am sorry.”

It really is so simple. Were you a jackass, were you a jerk? Did you really mess up? Apologize, and mean it!

Yet, truth be told, few things are quite so difficult for us men to do. Apologizing hurts—it deflates those enlarged egos I mentioned. It makes us feel small. It’s more than a bit humiliating. But what of it? Get over it. If you don’t learn to admit your faults and apologize for them, your marriage is going to suffer. Resentment will set in, anger will mount, hurts will fester. Before you know it, the smallest disagreements will become fodder for angry shouting matches.

Here’s the thing, as men, no matter how far we advance in holiness, we can never expect not to sin. We are going to hurt our wives with our words and actions. We are going to get angry and say things we regret. We are going to be knuckleheads. It’s inevitable. The question is, when it happens, what are we going to do about it?

I learned early on in my own marriage the power of asking for forgiveness. I have lost count of the times I have been selfish and insensitive toward my wife. Yet, as soon as I become aware of a sin I have committed toward her, I strive to apologize for it and make it right as soon as possible. The beautiful thing is, my wife always rushes to forgive me, and often, she apologizes for her own sins if she is at fault. Does it hurt to apologize? Yes, every single time. But it has kept our marriage healthy and happy.

You see, healthy relationships on this side of heaven are not about never sinning. Rather, they are about learning to repent and forgive seventy times seven. We are in a school of love, and our Lord wants to teach us to love like he does, all the way to the cross. Men, if you want a happy marriage, learn to say I’m sorry from the heart. Do it as many times as it takes (it will be thousands). You’ll be amazed at the results.

Sam Guzman

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Reader Interactions


  1. Amy says

    Well now everyone has a smart phone with a gps so there are no more excuses for being lost or wrong. Thanks google!

  2. Refreshed in Catholicism says

    Although your message about pride and the ability to say “I am sorry” is well taken in general, your example is a ridiculous stereotype of men.

    Quite frankly I have rarely been with men who refuse to ask for directions. In fact, I have seen more women demonstrate this strain of stubborn pride then men. So what is next? Are you going to talk about men laying around on the couch all day watching football? Or how about how we can’t deal with the children? This particular blog is a perfect example of why men have become fair game as the butt end of unfounded stereotypes in advertising and in the popular medium. All of which undermines the positive contributions of this blog.

    I love this blog, and believe it has had a very positive impact on my spirituality and personal growth. Unfortunately today’s post contributed to the nonsense of male stereotypes that are simply not grounded in truth.

    • Tracey Kelly says

      Dear refreshed….how funny that you responded to this blog exactly on cue! You were told you were wrong (men in general) and your ego was pinched! You responded with sarcasm and denial! So typical:)

  3. Jean-Paul Viaud says

    I definitely am one of those guys who never wants to ask for direction. Litteraly. So, others’ experience may differ, but there are guys that fit the bill…

    That being said, I did’nt read this post in the first degree (the example being more like a parabole to illustrate a point). I agrees with the underlying argument : men have (culturally in part) often a large ego that makes it more difficult for them to admit their wrongs and ask for forgiveness.

    Forgiveness and mutual respect are a key to an happy marriage, that’s for sure. 27 years and counting, still working on it

  4. Refreshed in Catholicism says

    Tracey – I am sorry if my comments missed the point of what I was attempting to say about male stereotypes.

    I love this blog specifically because it addresses the role of men in society in a very thoughtful and serious manner. This thoughtful and serious approach is quite different than the “cartoonish” manner in which most men are portrayed in the popular medium. That is, we are too stubborn to ask for directions. We avoid hard work to go drinking with the guys etc. Quite frankly I am sick of the inane stereotypes. I try to see the world in a balanced manner. Many men, and women alike, fail to apologize.In my humble opinion, I feel it is nonsense that one sex is superior to the other in that department. Methinks that using sex to prejudge ones proclivity to say that he or she is sorry may be a poor and unfortunate choice.

    That said, it appears you may be wedded to this male stereotype so I best say it again – sorry for the misunderstanding.

  5. contemprisma says

    I think it’s more because men don’t like to admit that they need help. Maybe they didn’t make a mistake. Maybe the directions were wrong, a detour, the neighborhood changed unrecognizably, etc. Men hate to admit that they can’t handle the situation, after all they’re in charge; they should know what they’re doing. They are not going to ask for help.

    • Refreshed in Catholicism says

      Contemprisma – You argue “men don’t like to admit that they need help”. However, I, and many (most) men ask for help – so your premise is false. You argue “Men hate to admit that they can’t handle the situation, after all they’re in charge”. However, I have owned my own businesses for years and have often found myself in need of help for difficult situations and have sought out help – so your premise is false. You argue “They (men) are not going to ask for help”. Obviously this premise is simply false. Given that all of your premises are false then we must conclude that your argument (and stereotype) is also false.

      Now imagine this argument. Contemprisma is a woman. Contemprisma makes false arguments. Therefore all women are irrational. I could not imagine such an outrageous argument (and resulting conclusion) and cannot imagine the simplistic, and false, argument you have made about men.

      Methinks it is best to stop herding people into ideological boxes.

      • WonderBoy says

        Refreshes – well if you are one of those men who are not afraid to ask directions then good fo you. I doubt that the writer wanted to generalize and sterotype men, but please do not generalize as well that all men can be as humble as you and your peers, just pray for us men who are not yet in the same state as you.

        As for the article, great job brother! Hope you could write more articles like this. This actually pinched my ego a bit, but still this was helpful.

        Thanks and God bless from Manila, Philippines!


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