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Y ou messed up. Maybe you made your spouse cry, forgot about your kid’s basketball game, got caught in a lie — or worse. An apology is in order. What should you say? Our apologies are usually “woefully inadequate … because we have a fundamental misunderstanding about their purpose,” said Guy Winch, psychologist and author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure and Other Everyday Hurts . “Most apologies tend to be excuses or justifications that neglect to address the feelings of the person to whom we’re apologizing.” JOHN FOXXGETTY IMAGES The goal of a sincere apology is to make the other person feel better, not yourself. How to say ‘I’m sorry’ — and mean it JESSICA REYNOLDS CHICAGO TRIBUNE SeeAPOLOGY,Page2C Dear Carolyn: My husband and I were married in May and are preparing for our first C hristmas together. We agreed that Thanksgiving would be with my family and Christmas with his. The issue is my mother-in-law. She was very rude during the wedding — she barely spoke to me and gave no response when I said hello, and chas- t ised me at the next-day gathering. She later planned a summer family t rip that my husband and I were expected to attend during the one week when I told her I wasn’t available. This is causing strain between my h usband and me because they are very close. To me it’s clear she doesn’t like me and would rather I be out of the picture. My husband says we just haven’t found a space to connect, and I should just let it go until we do. My o wn mother says to kill her with kindness. Ifeel like we should address our issues before the Christmas visit, but I’m not sure it would do much good. H ow should I handle the upcoming h oliday? —In-Law Isuspect “we” means you and your mother-in-law, but it needs to be you and your husband. That’s the relations hip that has to work. A nd so, yes, you and your husband definitely should address your mother-in-law issues before you load a First Christmas Together’s worth of expectations on that rickety sleigh. I n particular, you need to recognize the importance of letting stuff go, and he needs to recognize the importance of backing you up. Meaning, for you: A failure to say “hello” is too puny a bean to count, much less hold onto for months. You’re married. This woman is your family now, and your husband loves h er. You owe it to him, and by exten- s ion to yourself, to let minutiae go. “Guess she didn’t hear me shrug.” Whatever. You find a way. M eaning, for him, even though he didn’t ask me (but you can share this with him): Siding with Mother on big s tuff like squeezing you out of vacations (!) is a 2 + 2 for spousal alienation. Honoring those new vows is so b asic. “Mom really said that to you? No wonder you’re upset. I’ll talk to h er, if you’d like.” And, “Mom, that week doesn’t work for us, remember?” Talking like this, calmly, helps b oth of you sort misdeeds from misunderstandings. Plus, neither of these responses sells out Mom; both merely v alidate that spouses are unified, side-by-side. T hat is, presumably, the whole point both of marriage in general and the Mom conversation in particular. Spouses honor each other, and from there take life as it comes. Even when he believes you’re the one at fault in a you-vs.-his-mother incident — since y ou eventually will be, it’s inevitable —you have a right to expect him to treat you still as his top priority. It’s that much more important, in fact, when you and he disagree. And he has a right to expect you not to get petty. Whether his mother was legitimately to blame in 99.9 of 100 battles prior to a current one is immaterial. If one or both of you won’t budge in the other’s favor, then you’re serving y ourselves, not the marriage. A marriage can survive this occasionally, b ut not when it’s the rule. Email Carolyn at tellme@wash- post.com, follow her on Facebook at w ww.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or c hat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washington- p ost.com. Husband h as to stand up to his mother CAROLYN HAX TELL ME ABOUT IT “Spouses honor each other, and from there take life as it comes.” CAROLYN HAX Democrat and Chronicle Wednesday,October21,2015 HERROCHESTER.COM With Monday’s debut of the final Star Wars movie trailer, opening night tickets have been selling at light speed. S tar Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t in theaters until the evening of Dec. 17, but fans quickly nabbed seats for the first s creenings, which went on sale Monday night. They were originally announced t o be available just after the trailer l aunchat halftime of ESPN’s Monday N ight Football . W ebster AMC 12 on Empire Boulevard quickly sold all but one of the thea- t er’s Dec. 17 screenings. Four handicapped tickets remain up for grabs for the 11p.m. screening, and plenty of Dec. 18 screenings remain available. A handful of reserved seats — mostly in the front row — remain up for grabs at Regal Eastview in Victor, Ontario Count y, according to the theater’s website. The 13-screen theater has scheduled six showings the evening of Dec. 17. Star Wars, The Force Awakens , con- t inues George Lucas’ tale in a galaxy far, far away. The newest movie, which officially opens Dec. 18, is set decades after the final film of the original trilogy, Ret urn of the Jedi . Pittsford resident Chris Smith, 42, recalled anxiously awaiting seeing the E mpire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the theater as a boy. And now he’s e xcited to share the same experience with his 12-year-old daughter, a huge Star Wars fan. “As soon as the trailer aired, I went online and tried to buy tickets, but the site wasn’t responsive so I gave up for t he night,” he said. “This morning, I logged back in and bought tickets for the first Saturday morning showing (on D ec. 19) at Eastview.” “When the first movie came out in 1 977, I was there opening night,” said D avid Johnston, 50, of Irondequoit. He w ent on to watch the original Star Wars ( later renamed Star Wars: A New Hope ) 15 more times in the theater that sum- m er. Johnston will watchwith his two teenage sons and wife at Webster AMC on Dec. 19. “The story line is fantastic — good vs. e vil,” he said. “I’m excited. I think this one’s going to blow the (prequels) out of the water and will hopefully take it right b ack to the original movies.” Includes reporting by USA Today. Star Wars : Tickets selling at light speed VICTORIA E. FREILE @VFREILE PICASALUCASFILM Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens Dec. 17.