Written by Asma Naim
How To Say Sorry Like You Mean It
Forgiveness is an essential part of a growing relationship. Without a consistent practice of forgiveness, relationships are repressed. But the act of forgiveness is just one side of the equation. The other one is to say sorry in an appropriate way, expressing the best apology possible.
In our relationships, apologies are just as necessary as forgiveness. An apology is usually the turning point in a fight. It’s the point at which you go from heated anger and growing resentment to consider how to grow past an offense. A good apology is a pretty essential factor in each of us coming to a point of sincere forgiveness. Sometimes apologies can be weak and actually make the situation worse. But, just like we can learn to be better forgivers, we can also learn to apologize in the way our spouse will best receive it.
Here is a short list of dos and don’ts to get “The Best Apology” as Gary Chapman mentioned in his book The Five Languages of Apology:
- Don’t add an excuse to your apology.
You’ve done something wrong. Say what it is. Don’t try to mitigate or defend, just get it out there.
- Don’t apologize for someone else’s feelings.
“I’m sorry you’re mad,” is not an apology. It’s condescending.
- Don’t expect a reciprocal
Do not apologize expecting your spouse to apologize equally. When you recognize you have done something wrong, just own your part of it.
- Do apologize for your own actions and attitude.
Be specific about what you did wrong. “I’m sorry for whatever I did wrong” is NOT going to work.
- Do ask forgiveness when you apologize.
When you ask your spouse to forgive you, wait. Listen to their claims. Be grateful when you receive them.
- Do attempt to make a repair.
After apologizing it is wise to make the next step and ask: “Is there anything I can do to make this right?”
Arguing and fighting are natural and necessary parts of relationships and we aren’t going to always be able to avoid them. So, it’s essential that we get really good at apologizing, forgiving, and committing to our loved ones.
Do you apologize in the right way? Or do you wait for your spouse to make the first step?
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