Every long-term relationship has a screwup. You know, the one who always ends up apologizing for pretty much everything and never seems to learn. In my marriage, that would be me. Obviously.

If you think of a relationship as sort of a bank account with a balance, one partner will always be at a deficit, constantly playing catch-up but never actually getting there. That would be the screwup.

If you have any self-awareness whatsoever then you know who the perpetual screwup is in your relationship. If you’re not sure, there’s a simple test. Walk over to the nearest mirror. There you go.

It took me about a decade of marriage — a painful decade — to figure that out so I hope y’all appreciate the tip.

I wasn’t really planning to equate this concept to anything important like the U.S. deficit or the way we’re all running around with our hair on fire about pandemics, elections, supreme court justices and what not.

That said I just can’t pass up the opportunity, so here goes.

Each party is struggling to position the other as the screwup — the one that should be apologizing — and wondering why that’s not working to convince anyone on the other side.

Try that in your marriage sometime. See how that works for you. After the blowup, try the mirror test. There you go.

Image credit Thomas Cizauskas / Flickr