“Uh, Oh! I didn’t say that right!”
“I can’t believe he just said that!”
How many times have you said those words? You weren’t trying to escalate the conflict, but man, you did! There are times that we want to reach out quickly and catch the words we just used, or we want to take back what we just did before our spouse knows we did it. But we can’t. We can, however, use a “do-over.”
Do-overs are chances to say, “I didn’t mean that to sound that way. Can I say that again?” Or, “I shouldn’t have yelled. Can I start over?” Or, “I’m really sorry I dropped that ball. Can I have another chance?” Do-overs make room for forgiveness and give opportunity for assertive communication.
But to be able to use the “do-over” tool, the spouse has to agree. The spouse has to respond softly. The spouse must put up with or forgive the mistake or the damaging words and give the offending spouse a second chance.
If that’s you – if you are the one in a position soon to hand your spouse the do-over tool when they request it – consider that God gives you the do-over tool all the time! All of us are constantly fouling up our relationship with God, but God consistently responds with forgiveness. It is a great feeling to be free to talk openly. No relationship is built up where we have to practice caution when we speak because of our insecurities about the relationship.
A number of years ago, we spent some time with Paul Faulkner on his goat farm. We needed someone, a third party, to help us construct the kind of marriage God wants us to have. We realized, during our time without modern day distractions except for those goats, that we didn’t allow do-overs. We decided that we needed a code word that either of us could say that would signify a request for a do-over. We chose the word GOAT as an acronym for “Get Over Another Thing” because we determined that “God’s Over All Things!”
We coach other couples to create a code word to signify the need for a do-over. We want you to take some time to create one now. There are some examples on this page to give you some ideas and to prompt your imagination!
Our code word will be:____________________________________________________
We chose this because:____________________________________________________
The last time we could have used it was when:__________________________________
We will probably use it most when:__________________________________________