How to Say I’m Sorry

“I’m sorry”—an “I’m sorry” that you really mean—are two of the sweetest words you can say or hear in marriage. Here is a little lesson on regret and how to say those words and mean it. Thank you, Taylor Swift.

Here are the lyrics:

I’m so glad you made time to see me.
How’s life? Tell me, how’s your family?
I haven’t seen them in a while.

You’ve been good, busier than ever.
We small talk, work and the weather.
Your guard is up, and I know why.

Because the last time you saw me
Is still burned in the back of your mind.
You gave me roses, and I left them there to die.

So this is me swallowing my pride,
Standing in front of you, saying I’m sorry for that night.
And I go back to December all the time.

It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you,
Wishing I’d realized what I had when you were mine.
I go back to December, turn around and make it all right.
I go back to December all the time.

These days, I haven’t been sleeping.
Staying up, playing back myself leaving.
When your birthday passed, and I didn’t call.

Then I think about summer, all the beautiful times,
I watched you laughing from the passenger side.
And realized I loved you in the fall.

And then the cold came, the dark days.
When fear crept into my mind.
You gave me all your love, and all I gave you was goodbye.

So this is me swallowing my pride,
Standing in front of you, saying I’m sorry for that night.
And I go back to December all the time.

It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you,
Wishing I’d realized what I had when you were mine.
I go back to December, turn around and change my own mind.
I go back to December all the time.

I miss your tan skin, your sweet smile.
So good to me, so right.
And how you held me in your arms that September night,
The first time you ever saw me cry.

Maybe this is wishful thinking,
Probably mindless dreaming,
But if we loved again, I swear I’d love you right.

I’d go back in time and change it, but I can’t.
So if the chain is on your door, I understand.

This is me swallowing my pride,
Standing in front of you, saying I’m sorry for that night.
And I go back to December.

It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you,
Wishing I’d realized what I had when you were mine.
I go back to December, turn around and make it all right.
I go back to December, turn around and change my own mind.
I go back to December all the time, all the time.

Invincible Love by Albert Camus

“In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

“In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

“In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

“I realized, through it all, that in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

“And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger—something better, pushing right back.”

Albert Camus

Feeling Better, Doing Better

It’s been almost a year since my illness. I’m doing much better. I wanted to do another status report.

So in mid-April 2011, I came home from work and I felt like the carpet had been pulled out from under me. A few days later, friends carried me out of the house so I could go to the doctor’s office. I didn’t walk for 4 or 5 days. I could hardly move. I was in so much pain, I wondered if I had reached my expiration date.

I missed three weeks of work. That was especially hard because I had no sick leave. Finally, my rheumatologist convinced me to take Prednisone, a steroid. That night, after taking the first dose, I broke out in a sweat and when I woke up, the whole bed was wet, as if someone had poured a bucket of water over me. I was able to return to work that day.

I was on Prednisone for about 10 months, off and on, mostly on. It is a scary drug but I depended on it just to get along, just to function, just to keep my face from looking like something you’d see in a morgue. About six weeks ago, I started coming off of the drug, slowly decreasing the dosage by a half pill a week. I have been off of it since last week without major side effects.

But there are some minor side effects that I think have been suppressed for months. Like my skin. I itch all over, not from a rash but from what seems like something excreting from my skin. I use a skin brush when I shower. It helps a lot, I think, to open pores and to get the debris off my skin. A skin brush takes some getting used to. But it really helps.

I have put back on about half the weight I lost (I originally lost 30 pounds when I was sick). I am still on a diet of mostly vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds. But I do eat a little chicken from time to time, and some sweets. For example, on Valentine’s Day, I had a raspberry truffle and a few other delicious non-essentials. But I have to be very careful what I eat. For the rest of my life.

Physical exercise is also a big help. I work out regularly (except for this week; we have had all the grandkids here with us). The more I sweat at the gym, the better I feel—and sleep! After I have a good aerobic exercise, I will sleep through the night for two or three nights in a row. 

One more thing: I just changed jobs this week, too, which restored us to the income level we were at 11 years ago when my wife had a serious illness. I feel like we are getting back on track after a pretty stressful decade.

I am very grateful for our blessings. We can tell that we are being watched over. We always have been, even in the midst of our deepest trials.

Does Your Wife Feel Loved?

Last night, after dinner (we had heart-shaped pizza), I said to two of my daughters, “I have a theory. When a woman or girl truly feels loved, that’s when she is happiest.” They both enthusiastically agreed. (One is married, one is in her late teens.)

This is something I learned later in life. At least that’s when it came clear to me. When I was bishop and in a position to counsel with couples on a regular basis, that’s when this realization solidified in my mind. A woman is happiest when she feels loved. And she is really happy when she is loved in the way she wants to be loved.

A man or husband who understands, and does something about it, will be happier himself.

To love your wife, you have to live outside of the moment. You have to see beyond the day. You have to see her with spiritual eyes. You have to see the truth.

I think so many men get caught on the coat hook of their wives’ snarlieness, but the secret to overcoming that is to show your wife the love she deserves in the way she can understand.

A man who understands his wife’s love language will know how to love her in the way she needs to be loved.

Gary Chapman’s five love languages are:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

There are probably more love languages than this, but this list covers most cases.

I know what my wife’s love language is. Do you know what your wife’s is? Finding out and doing something positive about it will bring a lot of peace to your home.

My wife needs quality time. I know that and I know the particular flavors of quality time she needs. She knows my love language—words of affirmation. And she knows how to keep my love bucket full. We have a very happy, successful marriage. 

My advice is simple and it is this: find out what makes your wife tick, how she really feels loved, and then love that way. Serve her. Quit hanging onto your pride and just love her with all your heart. Don’t wait for her to change or for your desires to be requited.

If you do this, it will change everything for the good.

P.S. If your wife has some deeply held emotional or hidden issues, it may not be as simple as this. See my disclaimer.

What Your Husband Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

Last time, I talked about what wives really want for Valentine’s Day. Now, I’ll turn my attention to husbands. I am no world authority, and I don’t know what every man wants, but I have a good idea of what most of men want.

Your husband is often painfully aware of his weaknesses and mistakes, his failures and slip ups, but even though he has not succeeded in overcoming them, he desperately and quietly wants you to believe in him, to respect him and trust him. (Again.)

You are his last, best hope against all he struggles with in this world.

If he feels like you are there for him, that you truly believe in him, even though he has stumbled, that means everything to him, even if he can’t (or won’t) say it out loud.

For you to be truly pleased with him, and, best of all, to look up to him, that is what he hopes for most.

What if your husband is a Darth Vader, brutish and surly? Or a John Wayne, quiet and withdrawn when it comes to words of love? Those things are hard to look up to, I know. But that is his shell, the shell he uses to protect his pain.

But you know or can know who and what he really is, what is in his heart of hearts. You are the one that can see that and draw that out. Very few can see what you can see.

One other thing he would like is for you not to be hard on him, to focus more on the positive than the negative, to see the good in him more than anything else.

Criticism and negativity are force, or attempts at it. Patience, kindness, and positive words are persuasion. He can’t be forced, but he can be persuaded. And no one can persuade him like you can. He wants to be persuaded that you still believe in him.

That’s what he wants most. It will mean so much to him.

What Your Wife Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

I think I know what your wife wants for Valentine’s Day. I offer my opinion and welcome yours as well (in the comments). What I say won’t apply to all women, but it will apply to most.

Very simply, she wants you. That’s it. You.

She would like your undistracted attention. She wants you to be with her in the full sense, meaning that you will lend her your time, your ears, your eyes and your heart. That also means that when you are home on Valentine’s, she would appreciate it if your cell phone, laptop, video games and TV were off.

She wants you to patiently listen to her, without your eyes or attention wandering elsewhere. She doesn’t want you to solve her problems and difficulties for her. All she needs is for you to listen to her explain those problems, and not to jump in with solutions. The solutions will be evident after she has had a chance to express her feelings; and if the solutions are not immediately evident, even so, she will feel a lot better.

She wants you to romance her the way she wants to be romanced. This means you have to ask her a question soon, before the big day is here. You need to give a her a chance to be perfectly honest. Ask “What would make you feel special on Valentine’s Day?” Then be open to the answer. Don’t mold her answer to your own. Listen carefully and then thank her for telling you.

Some like dinner out, others love flowers and chocolates, while yet others want acts of service or a gift card with your encouragement to buy clothes. Some want you to help her solve a puzzle at home, often with the kids. Some will want time alone to just think or read or even sleep.

She would like some real affection from you. Hugs and kisses with real meaning behind them. She would like you to hold her hand, in public, in front of other people. She wants you to not only tell her that you love her, but to show it with an outward display of affection.

She wants you to forgive her for her weaknesses and to see past them to who she really is. 

She wants to know that she is the most special, most important person in the world to you. Nothing takes the grumpies away like knowing that.

Romance is wonderful, but there is something better. I love this quote from President Hinckley that was mentioned in an article in last month’s Ensign, but was originally from a conference talk he gave in 1991:

I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.

If you will give her these things, her trust will grow and trust is the most important foundation for love.

I conclude with this quote, a recent message from Music and the Spoken Word:

Recently, a team of researchers surveyed thousands of married men and women and discovered something that most couples already know: spouses who are emotionally generous with each other are happier. That common-sense finding gets at the heart of marital happiness—what changes hearts and homes and families is generosity of spirit, which the researchers define as “the virtue of giving good things to [one’s spouse] freely and abundantly.” And what does that look like in a marriage? It includes small acts of service, hugs and kisses, forgiveness, patience, and a willingness to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to look past annoyances and into each other’s heart.

If you do these things, you will find that the tension and negativity that has arisen in your relationship will be lessened, maybe even erased, if you patiently listen, try to understand, give affection backed by genuine love, forgive her and willingly give her the time, attention and respect she deserves from you.

Don’t wait for her to change or be perfect to give her fully of yourself. God doesn’t wait for that from you.

Pick Up Lines in Time for Valentine’s Day

My wife sent me these last year. I don’t know the original source because they are all over the Internet. If you know the source, please comment.

I hope you can use a few of them on your sweetheart next week!

Do you have a Band-aid? I scraped my knee falling for you.

I hope you know CPR because you just took my breath away.

Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?

I seem to have lost my telephone number, may I borrow yours?

Wouldn’t we look cute together on a wedding cake?

I must be a snowflake because I’ve fallen for you.

Be unique and different: just say yes.

Do you have any Visine so I can get a clear view of our future together?

I’m out of good raisins. How about a date?

Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice. Hi, I’m _____________

You must be an astronomer because I see stars in your eyes.

Did you get a parking ticket cause you have “fine” written all over you.

Excuse me, you just dropped something . . . . my jaw!

Life without you is like a broken pencil, pointless.

Can you give me directions… to your heart?

You look so sweet you’re giving me a toothache.

You’ve got to be tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all day.

Was that an earthquake or did you just rock my world?

I just got off my mission and I’m looking for my next companion.

My Liahona pointed to you.

If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together.

I wish I was a Facebook status so you could like me.

Is there an airport nearby or is that my heart taking off?

I don’t know how you got through security cause you’re the bomb.

If you were words on a page, you’d be what they call fine print.

If beauty were time, you’d be eternity.

Were you just smiling at me or do I have my contacts in wrong?

You make me so nervous, I’ve forgotten all my other pick-up lines.