Three words can make magic happen in a marriage. The three words aren’t “I love you.” The three words are I, am, and sorry.
I went to college in the golden age of the computer lab—a sterile, windowless room in the basement of a dormitory where students wrote papers and saved them on floppy disks. I didn’t write my papers there. I wrote my papers on a legal pad in my dorm room and then went to the computer lab to transcribe them. The first draft was the final draft. No revisions.
I didn’t like making revisions.
The perfectionist in me liked to think I could get it right the first time, be done with it, and move on. Revisions seemed tedious and complicated and messy and unnecessary.
Sixteen years later, I started this blog, and every week I’d put my wife in an impossible position: I’d give her the first draft of a blog post and ask for feedback I didn’t really want. When she would return the document with suggestions, I’d bristle. My ego wanted a stamp of approval, and the perfectionist in me wanted nothing to do with the hard, messy work of revision.
Marriage is a lot like writing.
We become perfectionists in our marriages, too, and not in a good way. We like to think we’re getting it right the first time. And we certainly don’t want the person we love to suggest any revisions in us. We want them to love the first draft of who we are.
We want a stamp of approval.