Clay and I were laying in bed, having just finished reading the Bible together when an argument broke out. Of course it was over something stupid and erupted because I had snapped at him. I stormed out of the room with Ezra and went to sit outside on the bench to cool off while Ezra sat and watched traffic. Realizing my fault in our argument a few minutes later I came in and opening the door heard worship music coming from the bedroom. I came next to Clay on the bed and asked for forgiveness, apologizing for my childish outburst. “It’s okay. Actually, I shouldn’t say that” he began,” I forgive you”. He didn’t think it was okay, nor should he.
‘It’s okay’ is such an automatic response to arguments, fights or disagreements. We always retort ‘It’s okay’ when someone apologizes. But is it really okay? Okay indicates that what the other person said, did or thought was not a big deal, that we are fine with it, that if it happened again it would be alright. Okay is acceptable. So why do we say ‘It’s okay’ when we are wronged by someone else? It is a quick fix, forget about it and move on. But it neglects the action of forgiveness and doesn’t solve the problem. We think by saying ‘It’s okay’ that the other person feels forgiven, without having to actually ask for it. They’re empty words that carry no emotion or resolve. They are robotic and repetitive and as Clay pointed out, they are not true. It’s not okay when I hurt him with my words or actions, and it is certainly not okay for him to be passive about it.
We have a tendency to patch our feelings and when we say ‘It’s okay’ that is exactly what we are trying to do. Those words indicate that it is alright and the words, thoughts or actions we were wronged with are acceptable. When we say it’s okay to someone who hurt us we cover up a wound that may extend beyond those two words. I didn’t accidentally hurt Clay with my actions, I was purposeful and intentional. I was mean, unkind and it isn’t okay. The half arsed apology may bury the hatchet, but that hatchet can be dug up later. We keep those unresolved arguments on a shelf in our mind to be used as ammunition for next time. It is a dangerous and unhealthy habit so many of us have.
Saying okay when it really isn’t dismisses the severity of hurt caused by the situation. When Clay said “It’s okay. Actually, I shouldn’t say that” it conveyed to me that he was hurt more than I would have considered, it caused me to be remorseful and ashamed. When he has said to me ‘it’s okay’ in the past I felt like great! Done with that, let’s move on, and I didn’t have that same regret, no lesson learned. Which is probably why so many couples continually fight about the same things. It is a lack of communication, one person not acknowledging their wrong doing and the other staying passive to avoid further conflict… which creates conflict. It is an unresolved cycle that sometimes feels unending.
However, as a Christian wife I know that The Bible doesn’t teach couples to be okay, the Bible teaches couples to be forgiven. Forgiveness is not a band aid and it is not temporary. It is an absolution, it is permanent and it is passionate. Asking for forgiveness and being forgiven puts an end to the argument. Kaput, done. It allows for someone like me to put into perspective my husband’s feelings, gives me humility when asking for it, and allows me to lay myself down in submission, recognizing that I was wrong (yes, Clay that is in writing, screenshot it, because I may never actually say those words again). It’s okay is a far cry from forgiveness. It is a cop out, it is passive, and it only lasts until the next time. So keep it’s okay for when your husband cooks dinner and other minor accidents because your marriage and other relationships deserve more than insincerity, they deserve forgiveness.