Learning how to apologize has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned so far in my marriage.
I thought I knew how to apologize well. Isn’t that one of the earliest lessons we learn when we reach school age?
However, early in our marriage, I noticed that my apologies (if I apologized at all) often lacked humility.
A genuine apology and a swift forgiveness positively affect the whole dynamic of your relationship with your spouse.
Very few marital disputes are the sole fault of one of the parties, so you first must acknowledge your role in the problem or dispute. If you don’t your apology will lack sincerity.
Step into your spouse’s shoes and see how your words and actions may have negatively affected or hurt him. Show him that you respect how he feels.
This first step takes humility, which can prove difficult for many of us, but will help build trust and love in your relationship with your partner.
Watch your words
Words have power and can affect the sincerity and validity of your apology.
When struggling to overcome our pride, we often word our apology in a way that places the blame primarily on the other person.
“I’m sorry you feel that way” or “If I offended you, I’m sorry” are not apologies. And instead of reinforcing the connection between you and your spouse, further divide you.
Use more “I statements” when apologizing like “I’m sorry I said…” or “I’m sorry I…” and use specifics. Show your spouse with your words that you actually know why you are apologizing.
Ask for forgiveness
Honesty, this is the part I still struggle with. Asking for forgiveness is incredibly humbling often making it the most challenging part of an apology. But I promise, that it will become easier over time.
You may be tempted to write it out or send it in a text, but it’s important that you verbally ask your spouse for forgiveness. Doing this offers release and closure for both people, and can help you grow in virtues that will benefit your relationship.
If you struggle with this step, ask yourself why? What is preventing you from doing this? Take it to prayer and allow God to show you where you need to grow.
Create an action plan
What steps can you take to prevent this mistake from happening again? What steps will you take to change?
You can ask your spouse what he thinks could be done differently if the situation arises again.
But don’t just tell your husband your plan, put it into action. Allow him to see your resolve to love him better.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, so show yourself some kindness as you learn and ask God for the grace to help you were you still struggle.