The magic spell that will save your marriage

by CynthiaYockey on July 12, 2009

I adore The Bloggess and she has been the subject of laudatory posts I’ve written here and here. Yesterday she wrote about a fight she had with her husband, who sounds like a wonderful man if you follow her blog, and I could not resist giving her the following advice in the comments:

OK, here is the magic spell to say that will save your marriage, except that you may have a big fight about who has to say it:

I’m sorry. You were right, dear, AND, I was wrong.

The first two phrases are healing, but what really pulls the poison out is the last one.


Right: “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

Wrong: “I’m sorry IF I hurt you.”

Why is the “IF” wrong?: The “IF” is a weasel word. When you’ve hurt someone and they are acting hurt and angry, you should be pretty clear about the connection between what you did/said and the fact that it resulted in hurt/anger. The fact that you may think it should NOT have resulted in hurt/anger counts zero against the fact that it DID.

Also, for the men:

Question: If a man is alone in a forest and no woman can hear him, is he still wrong?

Answer: Yes.

So that should settle it once and for all.

Then I thought for a few minutes about photos The Bloggess has posted of herself — she is partial to cleavage-revealing, V-neck tops, is where I’m going with this — and my heart melted with sympathy for Victor, so I added this comment:

Regarding Victor being captured by the sight of your breasts and rendered unable to focus his attention where you thought it ought to be, I believe the poet William Butler Yeats speaks for nearly all straight men, and frankly, a LOT of us lesbians, and explains why with this poem — although he is writing about hair, and it sounds like Ms. Gregory had a precursor of the Princess Leia coif:

For Anne Gregory

‘Never shall a young man,

Thrown into despair

By those great honey-coloured

Ramparts at your ear,

Love you for yourself alone

And not your yellow hair.’

‘But I can get a hair-dye

And set such colour there,

Brown, or black, or carrot,

That young men in despair

May love me for myself alone

And not my yellow hair.’

‘I heard an old religious man

But yesternight declare

That he had found a text to prove

That only God, my dear,

Could love you for yourself alone

And not your yellow hair.’

I hope this helps you to forgive him.

Margaret’s partner before me had quite the problem with narcissism, a trait distinguished by non-stop blaming, shaming and derogatory remarks directed at everyone else in the world. I didn’t have many encounters with “Rhino,” but I knew how ceaselessly she had blamed and shamed Margaret in their four years together, just before and after Margaret was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. So I told Margaret at the very beginning of our relationship that, no matter what, she was never going to be wrong, or blamed, or shamed, or put-down again. I just felt the universe owed her a guaranteed time of freedom from all that and I wanted to make sure she got it. This turned out to be one of the easiest promises to keep of my life, for all 20-plus years we had until Margaret’s death on Dec. 7, 2004. This is partly because I just am not much into blaming/shaming/put-downs, but really mostly due to the fact that I can’t remember a time Margaret ever was wrong. And she had absolutely lovely breasts.

Update, 7/15/09: Dear Moe Lane weighs the virtues of the magic spell against having teeth pulled without an anesthetic. Yes, it’s that powerful!

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Peter July 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I always get the last word in anytime we have a differnce of opinion. “Yes, dear, you are right. This is followed by whatever apology is needed. This has worked for a long time, five births and four kids grown to adulthood, ten grandkids. It’s not worth being right if I’m sleeping out in the yard with the German Shepherd.
.-= Peter´s last blog ..Five Hundred Platforms? =-.

Cynthia Yockey July 12, 2009 at 9:52 pm


Speaking of apologies, you received a wonderful comment expressing love and praise for you after my “What’s the difference between Obama and a chimpanzee with a Magic Eight Ball?” post. It’s not every day someone falls in love with you at first comment. However, you were so flip in your reply that I found out you really hurt the commenter’s feelings. She is a regular reader, so, if I were you, I would go back and comment and apologize along the lines of: “Wow! My writing has never had that effect on anyone before! It is so kind of you to tell me! If you are looking to get married, may you find the perfect man for you and enjoy in your marriage at least as much harmony, love and fulfillment as my wife and I have had in our 63 years together. Thank you for warming my heart. You made my day!” But, you know, in your own words.


Peter July 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Oh yeah, breasts? After breastfeeding four children and reaching sixty-three years I’m left with memories. Fond memories. But she must live with memories, too.
.-= Peter´s last blog ..Five Hundred Platforms? =-.

Rosita July 12, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Cynthia, I’m so glad you’re on our side, we need more diversity of viewpoint over in conservative-land. A few days ago I read this really fatuous article called “No Father? No Chance” by Adam Graham. I commented that I disagreed with his premise (which I think you can glean without further explanation), and I mentioned that I was a single mother. I got EXCORIATED in the comments. I deserve ROYALTIES from Adam Graham because I totally bumped his article up to getting more attention than it deserved because I generated so many comments from people eagerly hopping over each other to tie me (and my child) to the stake and burn me as a witch.
.-= Rosita´s last blog ..National Association for the Advancement (they’re not kidding) of Colored People “Diversity” Job Fair, July 14th and 15th, NYC. =-.

Cynthia Yockey July 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm


Thank you.

A lot of times the excoriating remarks are not about what the writer says they’re about, so you have to listen to hear what’s really bugging them. It’s almost never the thing they say is bugging them. Usually they have hurt, anger and fear about their own challenges that they are off-loading onto someone else or a group — so, in my case, gay people and our quest for equality get demonized as eroding the institution of marriage. From where I stand, it looks to me like only the two persons involved can destroy their marriage and the ways they do it are immaturity, cruelty, laziness, adultery, drug or alcohol abuse, abandonment, mental illness and so on.

I really don’t understand conservative attacks on the single mother. For starters, she brought her child to term and is rearing it, instead of having an abortion. Shouldn’t conservatives be working on men, instead, for abstinence, wearing a condom during sex, and if a child is conceived outside of marriage, marrying the mother of their child? Why no motivation to socialize men to be more responsible? What’s up with that, social conservatives?


Peter July 13, 2009 at 4:30 am

Well, it was certainly not my intent to be flip or belittling. Nor was it my intent to inflict pain on someone saying something nice to me. I make no excuse here, I have the tendacy to try to be funny when I receive compliments, as you can see I do not always pull it off as well as I’d like.

I hope the lady sees this and I shall go back to that post and see if there is a way to make a more personal apology.
.-= Peter´s last blog ..Cynthia Yockey And Other New Cyberfriends =-.

I R A Darth Aggie July 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm


I’m sorry. You were right, dear, AND, I was wrong.

You got it wrong. The correct way of saying this is:

I’m sorry. You’re right, dear. I was wrong.

Oh, and this is something that only men need to remember. 😉

Oooohhh! Cleavage!

Jenny, Bloggess July 14, 2009 at 7:05 am

Okay, no kidding around? We just had a huge fight day before yesterday and I used your words word-for-word and they totally worked. You are awesome. But then, we knew that.

Also, why didn’t this trackback? Can I manually trackback something? I should really learn how to blog properly.
.-= Jenny, Bloggess´s last blog ..If someone sent you this post it’s probably because you really fucked up or they love you and want to change you. Either way, you should probably thank them. =-.

Cynthia Yockey July 14, 2009 at 9:05 am

Dear Jenny,

About the trackback — I’ll see if your official trackback URL is different from the one I used and if so, I’ll try it. The weird thing is that usually the official trackback URLs don’t work.

About using the magic spell — I am so proud of you! You have to have all sorts of good qualities to be able to use the magic spell — courage, humility, groundedness, generosity of soul, and more — and sometimes it seems like those qualities actually burst out of their seeds and grow up where they can be seen just from the ability to give the magic spell a shot and say it with reasonable sincerity.

About the fights — your writing has the potential to bring enormous prosperity to your family. If you will allow me to mind your businesss just a little more, I’d like to suggest that you work out a plan with Victor where you are working as a team to reach your writing goals. Men understand teams where each person has a role in reaching the objective of winning the game. Men also love rules. My guess is that Victor isn’t entirely aware that your years of blogging have put you on the brink of being a very big overnight success. So he may not be completely aware of how much the game and rules are changing right now. I expect a lot of housework and childcare that you used to do is now falling on him, which is stressful because he is the primary breadwinner and has his own career. Because men love rules, this may seem like a violation of the rules to him. But those are the rules of the old game where your blogging was your hobby.

However, you’re in a new game now and it has new rules. That’s because your hobby writing has made so many people fall in love with you and want to hear what you have to say that now you have become a professional writer and should be able to get book contracts. Your books are going to be bestsellers. And I wasn’t kidding when I wrote at your blog last week when you visited your parents that your family story is a successful hit movie waiting to be written. The drag for Victor is that the non-fun jobs of the family are falling on his shoulders while it seems like you are goofing around online and having a blast with people you’ve never met. The thing is, to create all the success I see waiting to happen for you, you really need the freedom and space he is making for you and you do need to be doing that goofing around and having the blast.

It will totally help if Victor and Hailey really see that you all are working together for a common goal when they are supportive of your writing. So try sitting with them to point out that you are all in a new game with new rules and you have to work together as a team to create this big success from your writing. Then make sure every time you turn your attention back to them after you’ve been working on your writing the first thing you do is thank them and praise them for their love and support and remind them that any sacrifices they are making are in service to the family goal of taking your writing career to the next level, which will produce great prosperity for all of you. The funny thing is that this will help you, too, because it will help you while you are working to stay grounded in the fact that you are working for them and they are the most important part of your life and that will fill everything you do with love and meaning and your highest purpose.

Jenny, Bloggess July 14, 2009 at 10:45 am

You are amazing and I’m printing this out for Victor to read right now.

Thank you, my friend.
.-= Jenny, Bloggess´s last blog ..The time I scared Blair from the Facts of Life. =-.

Cynthia Yockey July 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

Dear Jenny,

You are welcome and so richly deserving of success and praise! Please give my love to Victor and tell him that I am one of his fans, too!


Cynthia Yockey July 14, 2009 at 11:10 am

Dear Jenny,

Oooh! Also, if you have never read Virginia Woolf’s essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” this would be a GREAT time to do so, or to read it again. You’ll see why when you read it and I hope you let me know what you think of it when you do. Oh, and Victor should read it, too! It will help you both, I swear!


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