The word apology implies if you have done someone wrong, the best way to heal the hurt that the person is experiencing is to apologise, but what if you are in a relationship or marriage and you are the person that is hurting? There are so many grey areas to this so I will share my thoughts with the hope that you will see my point.
I am specifically talking to those in an exclusive relationship, whether you are married or not, the aim is to foster a healthy relationship, and there is indeed a method in how to apologise.
There are plenty of reasons a husband or wife might need to say sorry to their spouse. Maybe they forgot an important date, like an anniversary or a birthday, or they said something hurtful in the middle of an argument. Whatever mistake you made, knowing how to say sorry with sincerity is the first step in repairing your relationship and getting things back on track.
An apology is so much more than saying you are sorry, sure you will feel the pressure coming from your ego, admitting that you are wrong is never easy, apologising when you are not wrong is very hard, but in a relationship is necessary. In the case when you are not wrong, your apology is about the situation, saying that you are sorry that the argument or situation even happened can open the gate for the other person to engage.
Here are some basic things to consider:
- Try not using the word “but.”
- Do not demand that you be forgiven, reminding your partner of past mistakes that you forgave.
- Take responsibility for what you did and not talk about what your partner may have contributed to the situation.
- If your partner is showing patience, show some gratitude.
- If you are not ready to say you are sorry do not force it, however, when you get there just use soft words that will assist your messaging.
- Once you decide on your method then put some thought into it and that is not suggesting that you grovel.
- Don’t invalidate or dismiss your partner’s feelings with phrases such as “If you were offended” or “If I hurt your feelings.” Sometimes you need to apologize long before your partner has expressed hurt or regret. Always apologize as soon as you know, in your heart, that what you said or did was wrong.
- Sometimes we tend to say that we were hurt in the past and that is what led to the outburst but avoid bringing up the past, stick to the present situation.
- TRY not to go with an expectation of how your partner may or may not react, go with an open mind and irrespective of their action, stick to your theme.
- Find a way to show your partner—through words and actions—that you’ve taken sincere steps to make sure you won’t mess up again.
You will damage the relationship is you are never sorry for any wrong actions that you contribute to the relationship, that is the reason why apologising is so important, so the question is, why do persons find it so difficult?
First, apologies take courage. When you admit that you were wrong, it puts you in a vulnerable position, which can open you up to attack or blame. Some people struggle to show this courage.
Alternatively, you may be so full of shame and embarrassment over your actions that you can’t bring yourself to face the other person.
Or, you may be following the advice “never apologize, never explain.” It’s up to you if you want to be this arrogant, but, if you do, don’t expect to be seen as a wise or an inspiring leader.
I was inspired to write this article as I was witnessed in a conversation that happened with my brother and friend and an Elder at my church. My friend was so hurt and so with my help got the Elder to dialogue with us and the words of the Elder never left my mind… he said, “I am sorry you feel that way but if I had the chance to do it again, I would!” My friend was totally crushed and so it was a lesson for me.
If you cannot learn to forgive you will never have a wholesome and healthy relationship.
Keep in mind that the other person might not be ready to forgive you for what happened. Give that person time to heal, and don’t rush your partner through the process.
For example, after you make your apology, you could say, “I know that you might not be ready to forgive me, and I understand how that feels. I simply wanted to say how sorry I am. I’ll give you plenty of time to see that I’m changing my behaviour.”
Then you leave those words with your partner and then you can stand back and watch the magic work. This article is for me as it is for my readers.