We’ve all been there: you get an “I’m sorry” from your spouse and you feel like it just didn’t really help matters. Maybe it was when they said it, or maybe it was how they said it, but either way, you don’t feel any better about what warranted the apology in the first place.
We all make mistakes. It’s just a part of life. Sometimes, we have the best intentions, but we just don’t mange things in the best way, and we end up hurting someone we love. It would be great if others could judge us based on our intentions, but the reality is that only we will judge ourselves in that way. The people who love us are often left judging us based on our actions.
So, what happens when you make a mistake – maybe even a major mistake – and you are left trying to clean up the mess you’ve made? How do you apologize in a way that lets your spouse know that you truly understand the pain you’ve caused? It’s not easy. There really is an art to apologizing, and if it’s not done well, it can do more harm than good. Here are a few tips that can help you apologize when you are just wrong.
Acknowledge the Offense
Unless you can acknowledge that you said or did something to make your spouse hurt, angry, annoyed or frustrated, you will never be able to deliver a genuine apology. You have to be able to see what you did wrong. And, it doesn’t really matter if you think you didn’t commit a major offense. What matters is whether or not your spouse feels like an offense was committed and they’re hurt by it.
See Things Through Their Eyes
This can be difficult, but try to step outside of yourself to understand where they are coming from. Just because something wouldn’t hurt you, doesn’t mean another person isn’t perfectly justified in being hurt by it.
Respect Their Feelings
You can respect someone’s feelings, even if you don’t fully understand them. People have the right to feel the way they feel, and when you hurt those feelings, you have to respect what’s going on for the person you hurt.
Say the Words (or write them)
Sure, you may be the type of person who expresses yourself through actions, but most people need apologies expressed through words. Whether you say it, or write it, try to express your remorse in a concrete way.
Make Reparations for the Damage
It’s not only about saying sorry, but it’s about asking your spouse what they need from you to make things better. By offering that up, you show them that you aren’t just saying sorry because it’s what you think they want to hear. It shows that you truly want to make things right and repair the damage that’s been done.
BMWK Family, what do you do to apologize when you are dead wrong?