The Marriage Meeting Releases Blog Post Offering Tips For Apologizing To Your Spouse
The Marriage Meeting, a guide for couples to strengthen their marriage through a 30-minute weekly meeting, has released a new blog post that discusses ways in which one can apologize to their spouse.
Couples go through ups and downs on a regular basis. Though disagreements may arise, having healthy ways to deal with the emotions surrounding them is a sign of a healthy union. To weather the trials and tribulations of marriage, each one in the relationship must be honest about their feelings. This is of paramount importance when one is apologizing for a perceived slight that if left unaddressed can snowball into a larger issue down the line.
When dealing with the aftermath of a mistake, it is important to apologize, not just for the supposed action or inaction, but to also acknowledge how one’s behavior made the other person feel. It is important to ease the feelings of the other person in a relationship and to convey to them that one is truly sorry for how one made them feel. The blog post picks out certain phrases that serve to succinctly express the guilt one might feel after making a mistake. The blog post also mentions that though the phrases do the heavy lifting of letting the other person know how sorry they are, it is also important to approach the other person from a place of sincerity and honesty.
The first step is to apologize for the action or inaction that is the cause of the dispute by stating it in clear words such as “I’m sorry for X”. This is much more effective than a generic, blanket apology that does not address the main concern. A specific apology tells the spouse that the person who is apologizing has clearly understood the reason behind why the spouse’s feelings were hurt. This goes a long way towards making amends as it removes any disambiguation behind the apology. It also helps avoid blaming oneself as a bad husband or a bad wife and recognizes that the mistake was made in that one particular instance. This avoids negatively painting all past or future actions that they might have done or will do with a broad stroke.
The second phrase that works well is “It was wrong because...”. This allows one to acknowledge the reason behind the mistake, letting their spouse know that they have realized how their action or inaction was perceived. This lets the spouse know that their partner has truly understood the gravity of the situation and is taking responsibility for their part of the issue. It prevents one from dodging the question or gaslighting their spouse by deflecting the blame onto their partner.
The next part of making amends is to let the partner know that one is trying to do better now that they have been through the difficult experience and realize how their partner feels about the issue. The phrase that works for this part is to say that “In the future, I will try to X”. This shows commitment on part of the one apologizing to remember and respect the feelings of their spouse in the future. The blog post also mentions that one should avoid going overboard and promising more than one can deliver just to appease the spouse in a particular situation.
The final step of the process is to be wholeheartedly sincere in one’s apology and to ask the simple question, “Will you please forgive me?” The person who is apologizing should be ready to accept an unsatisfactory answer at the moment as it is natural for the spouse to take their own time to forgive. Finally, if the point of contention is a frequently occurring pattern, then a more nuanced discussion is required with the spouse to avoid it from poisoning the relationship.
Author Jordan Patrick Fowler talks about the importance of a proper apology by saying, “There is perhaps nothing as humbling but important in a marriage as learning to say a heartfelt 'I'm sorry'. We see marriages damaged all the time by pride getting in the way of the reconciliation that can happen when we acknowledge we were wrong."
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