Why is offering an apology so difficult? Most people take it and turn it into something ugly. An apology, to some, means our spouse now has something to use against us. We somehow feel it gives our partner the power in the relationship. What we think they’ll do with the power is still unknown. This, of course, explains why people are so stingy with apologies.
In reality, saying I’m sorry simply means we were wrong, we made a mistake, and we’re not perfect. We create these negative scenarios in our heads about the apology and it causes us to prefer the conflict instead of create a solution.
I’m sure enough evidence has surfaced thus far in our lives to confirm we aren’t as perfect as we think. The last mistake we made, unfortunately, won’t be the last mistake we make. Asking for forgiveness will play a major role in how a couple overcomes challenges.
An apology is defined as a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another. It’s basically us making an atonement for the pain our spouse may be feeling. That’s it, that’s all. It definitely isn’t the end of the world. I recognize this may be a little difficult depending on your spouse.
In order to be successful in love we all have to humble ourselves and do what is necessary for the relationship. In case you didn’t know, there is an art to this very useful relationship tool. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to apologize.
We must get over the outcome. Thinking it’s going to go to your partner’s head, or that they “won” is harmful. What we do for our spouse should have nothing to do with what they do for us. As adults, we know the right things to do. Of course we make choices every day to do something different. However, love should guide us, if we stop and listen to our heart. If our spouse is hurt, whether it makes sense to us or not, we should apologize. A primary relationship goal for every couple should be to protect the heart of the other.
The apology must stand alone. Have you ever heard someone say they were sorry and then blame you somehow? An apology is ineffective if it is tied to something negative or meant to shift blame. In its essence, it’s meant to take full ownership of our own actions. We can’t really be sorry if we are still pointing fingers.
There should always be sincerity. Taking yourself out of the equation and really examining a situation from your partner’s point of view provides a clearer understanding and increases the chances of being able to offer a sincere apology. Saying we’re sorry just so our spouse can stop complaining, or so that we could benefit some other way only adds problems down the line. If we aren’t clear on why we’re apologizing, we should always look for clarity on any situation that occurs in our marriage. Asking our spouse what caused their frustration and really taking time to process it is key.
Know that you are personally responsible for making it right. Only positive can come from both partners consistently approaching the relationship thinking “I have to make this right” whether they were right or wrong.
In order to experience a relationship at its best this is one of the sacrifices needing to be made. We have to remove our selfish desires and shift our focus. Apologizing is a relationship-building skill that can heal even the weakest of the marriages.
BMWK, what method of apology would you add to the list?