Wifeys & Gentlemen,
How many times have you been on the receiving end of a fake or bad apology? You know the type; that feeling of suspicion that washes over you when the person saying “sorry” either doesn’t really mean it or hasn’t truly accepted their wrongdoing. What about the moments when you realize the only reason the person is even apologizing is because they need/want something from you or want you to apologize back?
While it’s possible to move forward from an altercation or conflict even if the apology is weak, it is REALLY important (for the wellbeing of long term relationships and friendships) that you and your partner learn how to effectively apologize.
Now, because people are unique and every relationship is different, one person’s effective apology will be another person’s pet peeve. However, I firmly believe that if you follow these general guidelines, you’ll at least be off to a great start with your communication.
(and we all know Mrs. Renai LOVES healthy communication)
I’ll try to keep this short.
- Don’t be afraid to show remorse or regret over what happened
The WORST kind of apologies are the ones where the person doesn’t seem to feel bad for what they did. Keep it simple. Apologies are (usually) off to a great start when they open with “I’m really sorry for…” or “I apologize for…” it makes the recipient feel assured that you mean what you say and understand where the conflict has stemmed from.
- Admit and accept responsibility for your words and/or actions
This piggybacks off of my first point, but as we all know, you can express regret over an event and still not accept blame or responsibility for your role in it. If you’re really sorry and want to make amends, DO NOT put blame on the other person when apologizing. Yes, it takes two people to argue. Maybe your partner said or did something that you feel was equally as rude or upsetting? Maybe they’re the ones who started it. That doesn’t matter; when giving YOUR apology, it’s important to acknowledge your wrongdoing. What your partner said or did shouldn’t be the guiding factor in your apology, let he/she/them accept responsibility for their actions when THEY apologize to YOU.
- When the occasion calls for it, make amends.
Not all fights or misunderstandings will require an effort to correct a mistake or “make things right”, but when it does, no apology is complete without this effort. For example: if you’re caught cheating on your partner and you’ve apologized and accepted responsibility, now is the time to make it right. What efforts are you going to make in order to assure your partner that you understand how you hurt them? Will you get counseling? Will you deactivate social media for a while? Maybe you’ll create a plan for spending more time with your partner in order to rebuild trust? This step will mean different things depending on the situation and the nature of your relationship, but it is so important.
- Speak your partner’s love language
Whether it’s how the apology is delivered or the actions you take to make amends, try to demonstrate your remorse in a way that speaks your s/o’s love language. Does your partner need words of affirmation to feel loved and supported? Try counteracting some of the hurt you caused with compliments or reminders of why you love and care for them. Does your partner get psyched over acts of service? Well if they’re anything like me, something as simple as washing the dishes or cooking dinner goes a loooong way in making up for a mistake or stupid fight. Not for nothing, but many of us wouldn’t say no to a little physical touching to really drive that “I’m sorry” home…amirite?
- Try not to repeat the same mistake twice.
Realistically, there are some conflicts that all couples are going to have multiple times. I, for example, have a bad habit of bullying my husband when I’m feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. While I do make a conscious effort not to pick on him when I’m feeling this way, it does still happen from time to time. However, now that we’ve talked about it, I am much better about catching myself when I do it, immediately correcting the behavior and apologizing for lashing out. My instances of bullying have significantly declined over the course of 7 years. Whatever the case may be, your partner needs to know that you’ll make your very best effort not to continue to hurt them in that way again. This IS NOT intended to be a declaration of perfection. Any good, healthy relationship is going to have its ups and downs, but (going back to our first example) you can’t say you’re sorry for cheating only to turn around and do it again a few months later. You can’t say you’re sorry for missing important events and then not make any effort to show up to the next one. However, what you can do is show your partner your best effort to protect their heart/feelings and work really hard not to keep doing things that hurt them.
In closing, while all of these points might seem really obvious to some, the MOST important point I can leave you with is to please please please be sincere.
Don’t apologize for your partner’s feelings ala “I’m sorry if you took what I said the wrong way” or “I’m sorry if you’re a prude and can’t take a stupid joke” (my ex used to say this one to me…alot). Even if YOU don’t think what you said or did was a big deal, it’s not your job to correct your partner’s feelings or try to redirect their emotions.
We all have moments where we’re being overly sensitive. We all have moments where we might misunderstand something our partner said and blow it out of proportion. Still, if you handle your s/o with empathy and sincerity, none of that stuff matters in the end. What matters is making sure your partner knows how much you care about them and understands that your aim isn’t to hurt them or make them feel bad.
What is your go to method for making up after a fight? Let me know in the comments!
Until Next Time,
Carry on Wifeys & Gents!
Be a lamb and tell your friends….