The Art of Apology

What do you do if you’ve hurt someone, intentionally or unintentionally? As difficult as it is, your first step is to acknowledge it. Take responsibility for what you did wrong. 

You might say something like, “I’m sorry I didn’t follow through on what I promised,” or “I apologize for not listening to you and respecting your point of view.”  

Taking responsibility and admitting you did something wrong requires humility. It’s an essential first step to rebuilding trust in any relationship. 

But you’re not off the hook yet. The second (and even more important) step is to prove, through your actions, that you mean it. Words without actions are meaningless. Be willing to make reparations.

Now let’s change the situation. What if someone hurt you? What if your spouse hurt your feelings deeply? 

Gently confront the issue and tell your spouse, in a non-accusing way, what hurt you. Use “I” statements, not “You” statements. For example, “I felt hurt when you were critical of me last week. I need to know you support me and believe that I’m doing my best.”

This giving-and-receiving is what healthy relationships are all about. Whether you have hurt someone else or someone else has hurt you, taking these steps will leave you with greater peace of mind. You will have the kind of marriage and relationships that can handle disagreements and even conflicts; and move forward when they occur.