This past weekend Kim and I had a chance to celebrate 20 years of marriage by traveling to the Biltmore House and Estate in Asheville, NC. This place holds special meaning for us as it was one of our stops on our honeymoon. We haven’t been back since so it was cool to see how the estate and the surrounding area has grown since.
After we toured the estate, we went out to dinner to finish out the day. While we were discussing a number of things, Kim asked me, “So, what do you think is the ‘secret’ to us being together for 20 years?” I had to think about it for a minute because that is a pretty involved question. I told her that I think there are a number of factors that I think contributed to our 20 years of marriage. In the practical though, one practice did stand out that I think is HUGE for any relationship. Here’s what it is:
When one of us has wronged the other (or both of us has wronged the other), one of us at some point asks ‘Will you forgive me?’
Sometimes it is her, sometimes it is me. We don’t keep a count of how many times she has asked and how many times I have asked. Just at some point, one of us swallows our pride and asks that question. This is something that has been a part of our marriage from early on.
I told her, “It’s like if you picture your relationship as a body. When there is conflict and something wrong with our relationship, it is like an infection. It affects the whole body. Asking to be forgiven is like expelling that infection.”
I heard a speaker recently call that question the reset button in relationships: Will You Forgive Me? That question goes beyond just “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry can often times still be a self-focused statement. Asking “Will you forgive me?” puts you in the position of depending upon the other person’s response. That is a humbling and vulnerable place to be in. I’ll be honest, sometimes it takes a while for me to get to that place. Yet, the healing that happens at that moment when we “push the reset button” in our relationship is real. At that moment, we both recognize that we are both in need of mercy from the other…and it is given.
If you had to name a “secret” to a lasting relationship, what would it be?