To think that it could have ended for this couple in the middle of an airport, when a little incident blew up into a grand public argument. The fate of a marriage could have been sealed by a plastic Ziploc bag, which was mistakenly put away in the wrong compartment of a suitcase. This essay by Jane Hamilton for the Modern Love column in the New York Times touches on a relationship topic that will resonate with most couples: the art of forgiveness.
There may be times when small acts of insignificance (in this case, Hamilton's husband putting away a Ziploc bag in the wrong place after the couple's bag was checked at security) bring about big words. What she saw in this simple act was her husband trying to control her. She blew up. She was fed up, done. She was certain it was all over. She stomped off, alone into the airport.
Before the marriage unraveled entirely, the woman found her husband and she issued forth two little words: "I'm sorry."
This story makes us wonder about fancy conflict-management classes. What if all relationships really hinge on the ability of each partner to be able to say these two little words out loud to each other when the occasion calls for such acts of humility.
It worked out for this couple, without their having to sit through any classes or pay for a couples-therapy session.
They were able to work it out in the middle of a crowded airport. They went to baggage claim together to claim their bag. And to think, it all came down to those two simple little words of forgiveness and acceptance.