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They are two simple, little words, but for some of us they are the absolute hardest to say.
Sure, when we bump into a stranger in the street they pop out without a second thought. But having to say them in the throes of an argument with any real conviction can make us dig our heels in and tighten our lips.
A few years back, I — in a particularly pig-headed mood — spent a weekend up at a cottage annoyed and mute because the guy I was seeing refused to say those two little words — “I’m sorry”— for his insensitive behaviour. His lack of a sincere apology irked me for days after. And although our cottage feud wasn’t the root cause things ended, it certainly contributed to it.
Sure, it may seem like I was simply being stubborn — and to a degree that may be true — but a recent study shows the willingness to apologize could contribute to a lasting relationship.
Married people are twice as likely as singles to apologize after an argument with their significant other, says a survey conducted by pollsters Zogby for The PearlOutlet.com.
Terry Sheppard, president of The PearlOutlet.com, says his company commissioned the study after initial feedback from customers, many of whom were buying pearls as a form of apology to their significant other. (I suppose flowers just don’t cut it any more.)
Marital therapist Andrew Marshall believes the reasoning behind these results may come from the understanding in a marriage that the other person has an equally valid viewpoint and are therefore more willing to apologize.
“You love them and want them to be happy,” he states.
Married people are also twice as likely to say sorry even if they do not think they are to blame for the argument, which is one finding this stubborn columnist cannot understand.
Sheppard, who has been married for almost 14 years, believes this could be because married people have more at stake. “The consequences of an ongoing argument can be much more substantial (to a married couple) from the viewpoint of their kids and perhaps their finances.”
Yet Sheppard is quick to add an apology should always be sincere and heartfelt. Otherwise, it’s just simply empty words and the chance of a repeat argument over the same topic is quite likely. Plus, mutual respect and understanding is always better, so whether we’re willing to say it or not, the less we have to apologize, the better.