What to Say When He Always Runs Late



Kate had the babysitter settled in for the evening with her three kids. There was only one problem. Kate’s husband, Jon, was running late…again. He comes from a family of people known for running late. In fact, his mother is jokingly referred to as “the late Mrs. Brown.” Kate silently fumed while waiting for Jon to get home. She had reminded him to leave work in plenty of time to meet friends for dinner. Their lateness made her feel embarrassed when they were typically the last couple to show up. Would he break another promise to arrive on time? Fifteen minutes later, Jon rushed through the door blaming traffic and saying he was sorry for running late. They jumped into the car and sped off to their event. What to Say: Kate: While we’ve got a few minutes together, I need to talk to you about something that is important to me. When we show up late, it makes me feel embarrassed. Jon: Gosh. I know you think I always run late. But, you are too uptight about being on time. Kate: When we arrive late, I feel like we waste other people’s time. Jon: OK. I didn’t know that you felt that way. I’ll try to leave work earlier next time. Kate: Thank you. This means a lot to me, and I have no problem driving myself if you get stuck at work. Why This Works: By starting the conversation, Kate avoids giving Jon the dreaded silent treatment. Nobody likes to be in a tension-filled position with someone who says through clenched teeth that everything is “just fine.” Kate puts Jon on notice that he should arrive when he agrees to arrive. And she offers to drive herself without him if he’s late in the future. What Doesn’t Work: Nagging. No one likes to be nagged and no one really wants to be a nag. Read More »

3 Things Forgiveness Can Never Do

Forgiveness Does Not Heal Everything. We often have the mistaken idea that forgiveness will wipe the slate clean. Let me share three things that forgiveness does not do. (1) Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrongdoing. The father who abandons his children may repent ten years later, but forgiveness does not restore the ten years of void.

What to Say When Your Wife Is Urging You To Show More Ambition

Scenario: Scott’s wife is at it again. She fussed at him for not pushing more for a promotion at work. Scott doesn’t know what to say. As usual, he feels a mixture of guilt (not very strong) and annoyance (growing by the minute). For their entire 15-year marriage, Jane has pestered him to work harder and be a better provider. Scott wonders if she even notices his strengths, such as he goes to work without fail, he treats Jane with kindness, he buys gifts for her when he goes on business trips, and he likes washing her car for her without being asked. What to Say: Scott: Sweetheart, you know you are the love of my life. I want to please you in every way. However, I am tired of you pushing me to make more of myself in the workplace.  When you say that you want me to be a more successful businessman, I shrink to about two inches tall.   Read More »

7 Simple Steps For Teaching Kids How to Apologize and Actually Mean It

If adults need to apologize (And who would argue that?), then the art of apology needs to be learned in childhood. Here are the steps we recommend for parents, grandparents, and teachers:

  1. Help kids to accept responsibility for their own behavior. Our adult patterns of sweeping issues under the rug and shifting blame can often be traced all the way back to childhood habits. My own two-year old son passed gas and then blamed it on his diaper, saying, “My diaper burped!”
  2. Teach toddlers that their actions affect others. When you pull our pet’s tail, you hurt him.  When you rub our cat’s whiskers, he purrs.
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What to Say When… You Would Give Anything to Retract an Email Message

We’ve all been there. You draft a private email message but accidentally send it to the whole group. Your mind races as you recall what you said and how it will be received by friends or coworkers who you were not supposed to have copied on the message. You might try to retract or recall the email message but you have no success. When you are the sender of an unintended email message, what should you say? Read More »

What You Should Say When Your Husband Hurts Your Feelings

Your husband can’t read your mind. Telling him directly that you want to see a particular change is your best bet for getting him to stop hurting your feelings. Sadness and anger are two sides of the same coin. With that being said, anger generally makes others retreat in fear while gently sharing sadness invites them to help you. Read More »

The Most Powerful Apology I’ve Ever Heard

Below, you’ll find the draft of a stunning public apology that was delivered exactly five years ago. What is the context? It’s painful to even describe this. Robin was the founding pastor of our church. He was married and had an inappropriate relationship with a female church member. He was removed by the church and everyone went through a period of healing. He returned and asked the church elders for an opportunity to publicly apologize. I attended and was deeply touched by the ‘forgiveness service.’ Read More »