Even in the best relationships, partners get on each other’s nerves from time to time. What’s the best way to make sure that minor transgressions don’t sabotage mutual respect in a relationship? With three magic words: “I am sorry.”
“I am sorry” acknowledges the other person’s feelings. They acknowledge a transgression. They take away the hurt. They put things on an even keel again.
Don't say : “I’ll interrupt you if I want to!” This approach is not recommended unless you think having a disgruntled partner is a good thing.
Option two is to comply and say nothing. This isn’t terrible, but it's not great either. If your silence projects reluctance or annoyance, it’ll probably land as compliance under protest—and that heals nothing. By far your best option is to comply and say “I’m sorry.” It’s kind of like vampire blood (if you're a fan of True Blood, you'll get the reference): it heals the wound immediately.
Of course, “I’m sorry” has to come from the right place to be meaningful. It can’t be rote—going through the motions never touches the emotions. It shouldn’t be inflated, either. The “I’m sorry” that sounds like “I’m an awful person” will come across as self-absorbed and not genuinely caring unless your behavior truly has been awful—and interrupting or talking too much at a dinner party doesn’t qualify.
Bottom line, a dignified, self- (and other-) respecting “I’m sorry” will do fine.
So what are the three most important words in a relationship?
Not “I love you,” though saying that frequently is a fine idea.
Not “let’s have sex,” though having sex often is also a fine idea.
it’s “I am sorry,” three little words that are a wondrous cure-all for the inevitable hurts, little and big, that are our lot in intimate relationships.