In our “Marriage and Family Relations” class at church a few weeks ago the topic was “Forgiveness in Marriage.”  Both sides of forgiveness were discussed.  It is important to seek forgiveness from our spouse, to apologize when we recognize when we have done something wrong or see our part in a problem.  It is equally important to forgive our spouse when they come seeking forgiveness for something they have done.

Apologizing and not holding grudges–both an important part of a healthy marriage. 

One of the men in our class shared the way he seeks forgiveness from his wife.  When he recognizes that he has done something that has angered her or hurt her feelings or that has caused her difficulty, he comes to her and asks, “May I have a do-over?”  He seeks a second chance.  His message to her is that he sees that he did something inconsiderate but he values the relationship enough to want to still keep trying.  She always gives him the “do-over.”

I love that question.  “May I have a do-over?”  It might work in other situations as well.

With kids:  “Hey, I’m sorry I got impatient with you last night, may I have a do-over?”

                  “I’m sorry I forgot to pick you up from practice, may I have a do-over?”

                  “May I have a do-over?  I wasn’t at my parenting best a few minutes ago.”

In the workplace:  “I was a complete idiot.  May I have a do-over?”

In the neighborhood:  “My kids didn’t realize that throwing snails over the fence into your garden would annoy you.  May we have a do-over to show you that we are good neighbors?  They would like to sweep your walks for you.”

With a friend:  “My comment was thoughtless.  I should have been more considerate.  May I have a do-over as your friend?”

Of course, if we are seeking do-overs, we also need to be willing to give do-overs when they are requested of us.  Rather than holding a grudge it would be healthier to accept the apology and bequeath the do-over to the wrong-doer, and to keep things light-hearted, why not milk it a little bit?  I’m waiting for a future chance to say something like this to Hub, “Thank you for apologizing for —feel in the blank here–it makes me feel better when you apologize.  Yes, you may have a do-over as my beloved spouse.  And to make sure that I really feel better, I’m thinkin’ a thirty minute massage will feel really good right about now!” 

A do-over.  It works both ways.