By: Valerie Dei
Remember those times when you left your spouse out on something that meant so much to him but invited your friends instead? Or the time you forgot that it was his birthday? Remember also the moments when you did some of those things you frown out. All of these times and more need a firm apology to make for a relationship without undue grudges.
There are times when you may not necessarily be the one at fault, but if you value the relationship you share with your partner then you must learn to apologize and know the best way to go about it.
A very important part of apologizing is acknowledging the fact that you might have done something wrong. Bearing in mind that you are from different backgrounds and respond to situations differently, do not be upset if your partner reacts in a different manner from what you will usually expect. The best thing to do is apologize and try to understand the way your partner reacts to different actions you take and also try not to repeat those actions.
As important as an apology may be it can be worth nothing if it is not sincere. It is hard to move beyond a conflict if your partner senses that your apology isn’t sincere. Being sorry about something isn’t just about the words; it should also be seen in your attitude. Time should be spent on understanding why your partner has reacted that way and a decision should be made to work on not hurting him/her again.
In order to make sure that your apology is sincere and heartfelt, here are few suggestions that you can learn from:
- Avoid the use of the word “but” in your apology; there should be no buts.
- Don’t take someone’s forgiveness for granted. Ask, but don’t demand, that you be forgiven for your mistake.
- Don’t blame your spouse for how you behaved. Take responsibility for the things that you said and did that were hurtful.
- Express your gratitude for your partner’s patience.
- Choose words that are soft, gentle, and sincere. Use words and phrases that sound like words you would actually use. Don’t try to be someone else when you apologize for your blunder. Being fake is the worst way to say sorry!
- If you are writing a note to say sorry to your partner, put some thought into your writing materials. A handwritten card is far more personal and sincere than a message sent by text or email.
- If you feel the need to apologize right away but can’t reach your loved one, a voice-mail message is better than a text message. The longer you wait to apologize, the longer you prolong a conflict.
- 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.
- Don’t bring out a scorecard of past hurts and emotional transgressions.
- Let go of your expectations on how your spouse will react when you say you are sorry. He or she may need time to let your apology sink in. Forgiveness may not be granted right away. You can’t control how your wife or husband will react to your apology. Give your partner the space he or she needs to process what happened. No matter which way you say sorry to your spouse, how she reacts is up to her.