The 3 Worst Things You Can Do When You’re Wrong

By Rich


Look. I’m going to try and break this to you gently. You and I both know that generally, you’re a good spouse. You usually pay attention to your partner’s needs. You are pretty good about keeping calm and even when your spouse does something that you wouldn’t do a lot of the time you remember that, hey, it’s not that big a deal. But more important than that, you do a good job (again, usually this is true!) of making your spouse feel loved and important, letting them know that you value their opinion and you consider them your friend and partner.

But this time, you were wrong. You messed up.

I’m not talking about “agree to disagree” moments. I’m maybe talking about how you let your temper get away with you, or how you said something you KNEW you shouldn’t say but you said it anyway because you felt justified. Maybe you made a decision without them that you knew inside was going to hurt their feelings, going to make them feel betrayed, but then you made the decision anyway. Whatever it was it was wrong.


There is some good news here, though! You recognized that you’re wrong. That’s a HUGE step in the right direction! I mean, think of all the times when you were wrong (or mean, or selfish, or hurtful) and you never even realized it! You’ve done some growing up and are doing a better job at paying attention to your spouses feelings and you’ve realized that you messed up. So, yeah, you’ve got that going for you.

But, I really hate to keep harping on this, as good as REALIZING that you’re wrong is, it’s not the same as not being wrong.

I’m going to assume you would prefer to NOT keep on being wrong. So for sure, you’re going to have to figure out how to be right! But until you can figure that out, you’re not out of the woods. It is VERY IMPORTANT for you to realize that if I know anything about being wrong it’s because I’ve been there. Over and over again. And I’ve done more wrong things WHILE being wrong all the time. But to help YOU get to where you can hopefully get back to being right faster than I can, I want to tell you the three worst things you can do when you really realize that you are, as I’ve said before, wrong.

The Three Worst Things You Can Do When You’re Wrong

1)    Keep being wrong.

A no-brainer, right? It seems easy on paper. But the state of realizing that you’re wrong is awful. It’s embarrassing. You’re a freaking adult so you should have known better, right? Worse than that, there are going to be consequences to your wrongness and making things right again is going to be painful. You want to avoid that pain, that shame. So it can be very tempting to follow that momentum and keep being wrong. But you have to find a way to stop. Stop being wrong.

If you can’t go through all of the steps to make it right, at least start here. If you can’t ask your spouse’s forgiveness yet, if you can’t repair the broken trust all at once, if you can’t undo the chain of events that led to your being wrong, do whatever you can to just stop being wrong now.

If your wife feels abandoned because you spend so many nights out with your friends, if your husband feels like you don’t appreciate how early he has to get up to get to work so he can get home before it’s too late to do something together, then there might be some things you need to work through. But try to find at least one behavior, an action, that you can stop doing. If you can’t get to the root of the problem all at once, then so be it. But start making things right by choosing to stop.

2) Justify being wrong.

“How am I supposed to just ‘stop’ being wrong?” you say. And it is a good question! Your relationship, like everything in life, doesn’t happen in a vacuum – our actions and choices are influenced by things as humdrum and innocuous as “how hungry am I right now?” or maybe as big and far reaching as, “I’m very concerned about the state of the world right now.” There are so many things that lead us to make the choices we make. But if you know that you’ve done something to hurt, belittle or damage your spouse and your relationship, you’re never really going to be able to let go of that behavior if in your deepest heart you think that you were right, that your spouse is overreacting and being unfair. You don’t get out of deep water by convincing yourself it wasn’t your fault you fell in.

Image by Jacob Walti
Some common justifications can be, “Well, look at all the GOOD things I’m doing!” or “I’m not cheating on them! I’m not physically abusive! There are a lot worse things I could be doing!” This is probably an overly extreme example here, but did you know that Adolf Hitler loved dogs? Loved ’em! So, yes, Hitler could have, hypothetically, done all the evil that he DID do and ALSO killed and abused dogs too. He could have been even worse! That does not make him good by any stretch of the imagination.

Saying that you’re not that bad because you could be worse is like trying to get out of a hole by pointing out that, hey, at least the hole isn’t filled with snakes! This accomplishes nothing and you stay in the hole. Don’t justify being wrong.

3) Point out all the things your spouse is wrong about.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Three wrongs don’t either. Or four. I think the jury is still out about five wrongs, but I’ll have to check on that.

Focusing on what your spouse might be wrong about is kind of like justifying your own wrong behavior, but is actually a lot worse AND a lot lazier. You could justify spending money or time on something for you without telling your spouse because you feel like you deserve it, darn it and you wanted it. It’s not a great justification, but at least it’s logical, on a primal level: Me animal. Animal want thing. Not care if make other animal cry when I get that thing.

But justification based on someone else’s unrelated bad behavior? It’s petty and mean. You might feel smugly justified complaining about your spouse’s faults in front of friends because at least YOU didn’t forget to pay the internet bill (again). But what does that have to do with your bad choices?

I really feel like one of the worst things you can do in your marriage is keep score. It’s inevitable that, at some point or another, one partner could be doing the lion’s share of keeping the relationship running. But giving and expecting to receive exactly 50% of the effort and no more is going to end in disaster as soon as one or both of you isn’t able to do their best. Thinking that it’s ok to keep being wrong because THEY have slipped up (or keeping a running tally of things they do wrong so that you can feel smug about mistakes you haven’t made YET but expect to) is just toxic. It takes a mistake they’ve made, one that hurts your marriage, and lets you take that mistake and use it to hurt your marriage too: twice the damage from the same mistake! Double the points!

So there are three of the worst things you can do when you’re wrong. How do you go about becoming right again? Totally depends. It could be as simple as apologizing and giving your spouse a long hug. It could be radically changing your life, your schedule, or giving something up that you never thought you could live without. But whatever it takes, doing the right thing when you’re wrong CAN help get you there!

Image by Ruxandra Mateiu
Let’s end this on the same upbeat note. You are on the right path. You know something needs to change. It’s going to be hard, but you can do it. I really, truly believe that people in relationships can change, can stop being wrong and make things right again. But you know what the really, REALLY good news is? Your spouse believes that you can do it too.

This is What True Love Looks Like

By Celeste

This was yesterday at the apple orchard. We had walked so far and were just sure there was a bridge here…. There wasn’t. So instead of walking all that way back, Rich courageously braved the freezing water carrying our family across. Marry well my friends- you never know when you’ll need to be carted across an icy river of death.

Share the Love:  Chelsea and Joe

Celeste here.

I’ve never been much of a collector.  I had a decent collection of old Yoplait lids I had meant to send in (to benefit breast cancer?) at one point, but those didn’t really pan out….  But I’m starting a new collection!  I’ve decided to be a collector of love stories.  What better thing to collect, right?!

With that, allow me to introduce a new series:  Share the Love


I even made a sign! So fancy!
In Share the Love posts, couples will be answering 3 questions: 
1.  What is your love story?
2.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse?
3.  What is the best marriage advice you have to offer?

If you’ve got an anniversary or spouse’s birthday coming up or would just like to publicly display your love story- let me know!  I’ll happily post it!

For the first post in this series, I’ve asked my cousin Chelsea and her husband Joe to share their love with us.  I knew this was a good idea when I read their post and got all goosebump-y reading why they love each other- so sweet!!  I have a big, HUGE love for my cousin Chelsea- she’s super funny, sarcastic and she always takes your side in stories- no matter how ridiculous your side of the story is.  So, I was so happy she met and married Joe, who just augments all of her good sides.  Love these two 🙂
  Here’s Chelsea:

I was flattered and a little intimidated when my amazing, hilarious, and beautiful cousin Celeste asked me to write a “Share the Love” post on their new blog.  I hope sharing our love story and a little bit of marital advice will inspire others to “believe in a thing called love” too (kind of corny, sorry).

1.  What is your love story?

Joe and I met and fell in love in the summer of 2006 in Buena Vista, VA.  I had just finished my sophomore year at Southern Virginia University, and Joe had just returned from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We were both working as counselors at a youth camp called Especially For Youth (EFY) that summer.  I wasn’t really looking to date anyone at that time because I was preparing to go on a mission that December.  I knew that working as an EFY counselor would be a perfect way to help me prepare to teach the gospel in a spiritual and fun atmosphere.

We first met on the Saturday night before the first week of work, and hit it off right away.  We really connected (and exchanged a great deal of flirting) during a vigorous game of nighttime ultimate frisbee (with a glow in the dark frisbee…yeah, super cool).  Our first week of work included more flirting each time we saw each other.  I seriously could not help but have fun and laugh when I was around him.  He asked me out for a date that next weekend, and of course I said yes (even though I was going on a mission in December, I could still have a little fun…).

We had decided to watch the critically acclaimed “Sons of Provo” together for our date, if we could find someone that owned it.  Joe had plans to go to the Washington, DC LDS Temple with a group of counselors during the day and be back in time for our date (I stayed in Buena Vista for the day).  It turns out that they got back a lot later than he thought they would.  He felt so bad, and wondered if I would still want to go out with him that night.  I didn’t have any other plans (and I was really excited to get to know him better), so I said yeah, I’d love to.

He finally picked me up at 10:00pm, wearing black socks with flip-flops (which I thought was weirdly kind of cute).  There wasn’t much to do in our small town after 10:00pm, so we went to Wal-mart together, belting out 80’s music on the way.  We couldn’t find anyone with “Sons of Provo”, so we looked through the $5 movie bin, and he picked out “Joe Dirt” (another critically acclaimed classic…).  We went back to my apartment on campus, and watched it together (3 times actually…twice with commentaries).  This was actually the most fun I had ever had on a date up to that point in my life.  Proving the point that dates don’t always have to be fancy and expensive to be successful (something we’ve remembered through the years).  Apparently, you just have to be with the right person for it to be a good date.  

I was talking to one of my close friends a few hours before our date, and I was telling her how awesome this Joe guy was and how I was really excited about our date.  I said the only problem was that he was shorter than me (quite a bit…I’m 6’1” and he’s 5’9”).  I quickly got over this small detail, because he was so amazing in every other way (not that I have anything against short people…).  He was never bothered by the height difference, which helped me get over it pretty quickly.  He claims that my height will give our kids an advantage athletically, which is a perfectly legitimate reason to marry someone.

Another thing I loved about Joe when we were getting to know each other was that I never had to give him a “courtesy laugh”, when he was joking around.  This was something that was pretty important to me, because I had realized from previous relationships that courtesy laughs get pretty exhausting after a while.

We began dating each other exclusively after that first date, and fell in love within a couple weeks.  We started talking about marriage pretty soon after that.  Looking back on it now, it seems kind of crazy, but it didn’t seem crazy at the time.  It was basically a “when you know, you know” situation.  He quickly became my best friend, and I wanted to be with him all the time.  

At this point, I knew I had a difficult decision to make.  Joe knew that I had planned on going on a mission, so I asked him if he would wait for me and not date anyone else for 18 months (which I knew was a long shot when I asked).  He said he didn’t think he could do that.  We knew that there were two choices for us going forward.  Either we keep dating and I put off my mission plans, or we stop dating and I continue my plan to go on a mission.  We both decided that we should pray about it, and go forward with any answer that we might get.  It ended up that the answer both of us got was that we should get married…well, there you go!  We got engaged a month later, and married four months after that (in December of 2006).

We have been married for almost eight years, and our relationship is stronger today than it has ever been (with some ups, downs, and growing pains in between).  We went through the poor college student years together, and are currently going through the chaotic and sleepless baby/toddler years.  Our love has grown and spread to our spunky three year old girl, our sweet 1 1/2 year old boy, and a steadily growing baby girl on the way (due in February).  Our humor, our friendship, and our shared faith have kept us going through our difficult times, and helped us find joy in the good times.

2.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse?

Chelsea:  Sorry, I’m sharing three things.  The thing that I admire most about Joe is that he can do anything that he sets his mind to.  He is such a quick learner, and has the patience to learn just about any skill that he wants to.  Learning and recalling what he has learned comes very easily to him.  This is not a gift I have been blessed with, so I greatly admire it.  My favorite part of our relationship is the sense of humor that we share.  There have been very few times in our marriage where we’ve gone through a day without laughing together.  It helps us keep things in perspective.  The last thing that I admire about Joe is that he has been willing to make changes and choices that have required great sacrifice, hard work, and humility.  He works hard to be a better husband and father every day.

Joe:  My favorite thing about Chelsea has always been her sense of humor.  In all honesty, I had never met a female who shared my own “brand” of humor.  During the first days and weeks we were getting to know each other, I remember thinking “Whoa! She’s actually funny” (forgive me if that sounds a bit too sexist, but it’s the truth).  During that time I also realized that I looked forward to seeing her.  I got excited to see what she had to say, another new experience (really showing off my machismo now).  Anyway…from that we developed an amazing friendship.  I still get excited to be with her.  I still look forward to what she has to say.  She makes me perfectly at ease and I find solace in her understanding of who I am.  And for me, that all started with her humor.  

3.  What is the best marriage advice you have to offer?

Chelsea:  The best piece of marriage advice I have to offer is to keep any problems you may have in your marriage between you and your spouse.  Unless there are some serious issues to resolve, then involving a religious leader or marriage counselor is, of course, ok.  Otherwise, talking about marital problems to friends or family members will not help the situation, it will just further complicate things.  A healthy marriage deserves open communication between each other, which will help it grow strong.  This includes speaking badly about your spouse with other people, even if it’s joking.  I received this advice when I was engaged, and have tried to follow it ever since.

Joe:  I think my best piece of marriage advice is actually my two best pieces of marriage advice.  One, forget yourself.  That’s really easy to say.  “Forget yourself.”  See?  But it has turned out to be a lifelong process for me.  I’m so selfish, naturally.  I have to force myself to think about what Chelsea needs and try to put it in front of what I need.  I’ve found that our relationship goes so much better when I’m trying my best to do that.  Though, it isn’t always one of those instant, magical blessings.  Sometimes you have to give and give and give before you see it come back to you.  Well, I haven’t experienced that personally, but I hear Chelsea tell herself that over and over all the time.  So, I guess it’s true.

Part two is honesty.  Other than what you’re getting her for her birthday or where the Christmas presents are hidden, there is absolutely no need to be dishonest about something.  And to go with that, there’s no reason to not talk about or discuss just about everything.  For example, any purchase over $5 or $10 Chelsea and I make that decision together.  That’s really works for us with regards to finances, but it applies to weekly events, parenting styles, and home decor.  So, don’t lie.  Even though I know Chelsea very well, I’ve been surprised sometimes at her reaction when I share my thoughts, issues and struggles open and honestly with her.  You might be surprised too.

We hope that you enjoyed our story and we didn’t bore too many of you.  We’ll leave you with one of our favorite scriptures that relates to marriage very well.  Moroni 7:45: “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things”.

Just for fun:  The Mormons and The Muppets Humor

By:  Celeste

Yesterday’s post was on the serious side, so here’s a nice little post to lighten things up.

Today it was announced that the guest performing artist for this year’s Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert will be the Muppets.  Rich posted this as his Facebook status and the following battle of wits ensued with my very witty friend Elisa:

*It wouldn’t fit all in one screen shot, so it’s a little broken up, but still the same thread.

**Update: So, turns out after sleeping on it, Rich and some of his friends had more jokes to add! So I’ve added them at the bottom. We’ll see how long this keeps going! 

This was almost all done over their respective lunch breaks- nice work guys, nice work.  Anybody got any more??

Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up

By:  Celeste

*Disclaimer:  This post is not about marriage, but it is about love.  And we are ALL ABOUT spreading love here.*

I recently learned of the passing of a good friend of mine- Ana Preto-Bay.  Ana was a truly, truly amazing individual- one of God’s very best.  It was Ana who first taught me I could be really good friends with someone who is closer to my parent’s age than mine.  Even though I moved into her ward (church congregation) when Rich and I were very first married, and she was a professor at BYU with 4 boys- she didn’t care.   She talked to me and treated me like I was one of her best girl friends. 

I first met her because I bid on her four cooking lessons she offered during a church service auction.  She not only gave me those four cooking lessons, but she also took me grocery shopping every week for a few weeks, went through my whole kitchen, organized it and then cooked dinner with me many times on top of her VERY busy schedule.  She was simply, the best (and she taught me EVERYTHING I know about cooking).

I don’t know why but I thought I was a unique little project of hers. But as I was reading her Facebook wall after she passed away I realized that A LOT of people had that “unique” relationship with her.  It was truly touching to read of all the people she had influenced throughout her life (in fact, they have since made a blog just dedicated to sharing memories of her).  And it got me thinking…. what a shame that Ana couldn’t read this while she was alive.  Boy, would that be one heck of a pick-me-up!  All those people coming out of the woodwork, sharing beautiful memories of her? I’m sure never knew what an impact she had on many of them.

I had the exact same thought earlier this year when my former mission companion, Britney died of leukemia.  She was one of the most upbeat, optimistic people I have EVER met.  Whether it was trying to tell very uninterested Slovenes about Mormonism in a language neither of us spoke at all or battling years of hospital stays and rounds of intensive chemo- nothing could bring this girl down.  She had such a big, authentic love for everyone in her life.  I was truly touched as I read through others’ memories of her on her Facebook wall when she died.

This got me thinking… I should tell people what they mean to me BEFORE they die.  And since it’s a little awkward to say, “Just in case you die, here is what I would write on your Facebook wall…”   I’ll just use my new blog to let people know I love them :)  Spread it around a little.

As I was thinking about this, it hit me that I ALREADY had an entire blog post, one I had already typed up but never posted,  about doing this exact thing that I COMPLETELY forgot about (it was for my old blog).   I guess it was important enough that God had to tell me TWICE to get it done.  So, here’s the post that I wrote a few months ago:

Who I want to be when I grow up

I can’t seem to get this Maya Angelou quote out of my head.  That woman had some real good quotes, but the one I keep thinking of is,  

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I’ve extended that to include: people will forget what you wear, people will forget how messy your house is, how embarrassing your toddlers are in public etc, etc, etc.  (This quote and mentality is single-handedly responsible for me drastically chopping off all my hair.  True story.  If no one cares what I look like, I may as well make it easy for myself, right?  Right.)  It’s quickly becoming my life motto.

I want to be the kind of person who makes other people feel good.  Feel loved.  Feel important.  Feel special. 

My life motto needs a plan.  You can’t just become something without a plan.  I’ve been thinking about people who have made me feel good, important, special.  Maybe if I notice and think about them enough, I will start to emulate them.  I started to think these people would maybe like to know that I’m trying to emulate them.  Maybe that would make them feel special.  Here is a TOTALLY RANDOM list of some of those people I’ve been thinking about lately:

  • Laurie S.  I don’t always remember what we talk about and often we don’t talk about much because our kids are always demanding our attention, but she has this way of looking at you when she talks to you that makes you feel loved.  Like love shines out through her eyes and you can feel it.  Just from her looking at you. 
  • Rich.  This is initially why I started liking Rich in the first place.  In a class where I felt very self-conscious, he made me feel good.  He complimented me and made me feel competent.  He had no ulterior motives (since he was dating someone else in the class) other than just being a nice guy.  I love the nice guy-ness about him.  And now he is the #1 person in my life who makes me feel good every single day.  He makes me feel loved and important and special.
  • My mom.  Mom is awesome.  There are so many of her qualities that I want.  She works so hard.  She is so good at making and keeping good goals.  She is so obedient.  I love the way my mom has no filter for friend making at all.  She will be friends with anyone, no matter what.  Most people have age filters, socioeconomic filters, in-a-similar-life-situation filters, education filters, religious filters, but not my mom.  She can seriously be best friends with someone 50 years older than her or younger than her, with the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich.  And she has been.  And she will be friends with them and do anything for them forever.  I love that about her.
  • My dad.  Everyone loves my dad.  I think that’s because he makes people feel like he likes them.  I don’t know how I missed this awesome quality from both my mom and my dad.  But my dad is great at this.  He laughs loud and easily.  He puts people at ease.  With people who generally have their guard up, he has this way of lowering everyone’s guard and getting them off the defense.  He’s the ultimate peace-keeper.
  • Lori.  She has this same no filter thing I was describing with my mom.  She also can be best friends with anyone, no matter what.  And she genuinely loves everyone she meets.  It’s one thing to make people feel like you love them, it’s another to actually love everyone.  I mean everyone.  It’s an amazing gift.
  • Robbie H.  Robbie has a way of listening that makes you feel like he genuinely cares about everything you say.  Even the little things. I think it’s because he always remembers everything you say.  It’s impressive and makes you feel like you are interesting.  I like that he makes everyone he talks to feel interesting.
  • Faith C.  I like how Faith smiles through everything she says.  Even when she is giving strong opinions.  Even if she is telling a story that angered her or disagreeing with something- she is smiling through it.
  • Danielle.  I like how determined Danielle is.  When she puts her mind to something, she’ll stick with it forever.
  • Astyn C.  She has such an easy-going way of conversing with people.  Everyone likes her because she makes everyone feel like she likes them.  She probably does.  She is so selfless.  I’ve noticed she tends to seek out and sit with people who seem to need a little attention or love.  Whereas I tend to seek out and sit with my friends or people I get a long with, every time.  I admire this about her.
  • Theresa B.  There is so much I admire about Theresa.  On top of the list would be how she makes everyone around her feel comfortable no matter how well she knows them or if she knows them at all.  She fits in in every social situation.  We met randomly at the library one day and within minutes she had my phone number and I felt like we were old friends.  I love her enthusiasm for new friends and new goals.  I wish I had both her enthusiasm and her social skills.
  • Lynne L.  I wasn’t ever super close with Lynne, but I want to remember her because she was the best example of how to disagree with people.  Her political and social opinions were for the most part in direct opposition to the majority of those of her Iowan, Mormon peers, but she held those opinions in the most humble, Christlike way ever.  You could tell she felt strongly about her beliefs, but she never ever made anyone feel judged or less-informed or wrong by her different opinions.  That is a very good quality.
  • Simona N.  Simona is the BEST at giving compliments.  THE. BEST.  You get a compliment from Simona- your whole body is full of warm tinglys and you feel awesome the rest of the day.  She looks you in the eye and bears her soul to you about the good she sees in you. It’s amazing.  I’m so grateful to have received some truly humbling compliments from her.
  • Sabrina G.  When Sabrina loves someone- she really LOVES them- like deep down, gut-filled love.  I was privileged to see this love in action as we served together and I learned so much from her loyalty to those she loves.  I will always love Sabrina.  Our time together in Slovenia is saved safely away in the “some of my favorite memories ever” part of my heart.

**Another Disclaimer**  This is… a very random list of people.  It is in no way a list of those people I am closest to or who have had the biggest impacts on my life.  I chose them the same way I choose my guest posters- their name randomly popped in my head.  If I wrote about everyone who has had an impact on my life well….. that would be an INSANELY long blog post.  In fact, I’m thinking of making this “who I want to be when I grow up” a series.  It’s not about marriage exactly, but my main goal for this blog is to share love.  True love.  To spread it around like there’s no tomorrow.