‘I’m sorry.’ The two simple yet powerful words couples might have difficulty saying at the right time. As we all know, relationships aren’t perfect. This permits the possibility that sometimes, we might utter or do wrong and hurtful things to our partners.
This means that once we hurt our spouse (whether deliberately or accidentally), their impact are bound to take effect on our loved one consequently, affecting the relationship.
The remedy for doing wrong is by apologizing. But unfortunately, sincere apologies are tough to carry out. Thankfully, this step-by-step guide is all the difference to ace an apology game.
Admit you’re wrong
Like Benjamin Franklin said, “never ruin an apology with an excuse”.
Perhaps one of the mistakes individuals make when apologizing, is refusing to admit their wrong doing. Selfishness, pride, and the need to always be right are a few flaws manifesting during an awful apology.
Contrarily, when apologizing correctly, it is important to first admit the wrongful act. It doesn’t matter whether your mind keeps repeating how ‘totally right you handled the (wrongful) situation’. By humbling yourself and placing the happiness of your partner first, you can go about apologizing the right way.
Take care to choose your words wisely. For instance, never say something silly like, ‘I apologize if the way I acted offended you’, or ‘I’m sorry that you think I did the wrong thing’. These two phrases although masked as apologies, simple denote that; ultimately you are right and your partner (is merely being dramatic) for finding your actions or words offensive.
Try using more precise words or phrases expressing your acknowledgement of wrong-doing instead. For instance, saying, ‘I am sorry for the way I acted earlier’, or ‘I am sorry. I shouldn’t have said the things I said earlier.’ These phrases successfully convey that you have manned (or womaned) up to accept your errors.
Admit that you hurt your partner’s feelings
After you have passed through stage 1 successfully, your partner will need to hear that you also hurt their feelings. Remember you and your partner are a team hence, in communicating your apology, acknowledging both of you as major subjects in the matter is paramount.
How exactly did you hurt your partner’s feelings? Was it what you said or did? Did you refer to them as ‘lazy’, ‘slow’, ‘stubborn’, etc. Did you passive-aggressively refuse to speak to them throughout the week and etcetera? Whatever it was, you have to openly admit to your spouse that although you said or did those things, you’re equally aware that their feelings were hurt.
Remember, you cannot rebuild your relationship without first addressing those things that went collapsed (went wrong).
Express your remorse sincerely
To express remorse typically means the manner in which you demonstrate your regretful acknowledgement of an offence you committed.
Language, tone of voice, facial expression and body language must all play together in convincing your partner that you’re truly apologetic for failing them.
It is for this reason that apologies to your spouse (no matter how little), must be done face-to-face. This way they can feel, sense and see the sincerity of your expression of regret.
Offer to make amends
Offering to make amends after an apology is different from buying your spouse’s affection. This simple difference is often misinterpreted by some couples making the error of trying to buy the affection of the offended partner through gifts,and cash.
The aforementioned strategy is only short-lived with repercussions lasting for long.
Instead try to make practical and sustainable amends. If you’re finding it difficult, ask your partner how you can make it up and down.
If they however, insist you figure it out on your own, get to work and figure it out. Consult books and relationship experts to point you in the right direction.
Do not impose forgiveness on your partner
Having practised stages 1 to 4, it’s only human that you expect your partner’s instant forgiveness. But this isn’t always the case. Just as individual faces differ, so also do their personality and consequently, their response to forgiveness.
Should your partner not have admitted they have forgiven you, be patient. Never try to blackmail your partner emotionally to forgive you. Rather give them time (and space, if they request it), to process your apology, the situation, and how they feel about you afterwards. In due time, if your apology was sincere as is your show of repentance, they’ll come around.
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