Argument and debate are going to happen, even in the best of partnerships, but it doesn't have to mean doomsday or that you're not compatible. In fact, I have found some conflict can actually be a stepping stone to a more honest, intimate place and can foster better communication.
Having the courage to admit we've screwed up is one of the hardest things to do. But is simply saying "I was wrong" sufficient? Giving and receiving apologies the right way isn't a matter of etiquette; it's a crucial component of ethical intelligence.
While I have never participated consistently in any form of organized Judaism, and while I cannot bring myself to believe in the magic of a "Book of Life" exactly, I am intrigued by Judaism's prescribed process for atonement.
How many times a day do you apologize? Think about it. Not a major, "I messed up" kind of acknowledgement, more of a figure of speech, a rationalization, an excuse. If you're like me, it happens often.
"Misspeaking" refers to fumbling for the right word. It is accidental, a slip-up. It is not when someone who clearly believes what he or she is saying tries to make nice by claiming they didn't really mean what they very obviously said.
Given our propensity for hurting each other -- usually inadvertently through our clumsiness or our being inconsiderate -- getting good at apologizing should be standard-issue emotional equipment for membership in the human race. And it is. Any one can do it.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop saying a "sorry" that's empty, apologize fully when it's appropriate and to do my part to shift our culture of meaningless or non-existent apologies. Anyone else up for that?