Apologizing is something even young children learn to do pretty much from the time they can walk. And each of us encounters plenty of occasions to say I'm sorry throughout our lives. With all that practice, you would think that by the time we get married we’d be pretty darn good at it, but that’s not always the case.
Throughout your marriage, you will certainly face conflicts and problems and the occasion for “I’m sorry” will inevitably arise. Even though saying sorry does not always rectify the situation or lessen the magnitude of your offense, it is the right thing to do. Apologizing does not fix all your relationship problems, but it does show that you are taking responsibility for the issue at hand and admitting you did something wrong.
So let’s talk about the anatomy of an apology:
The Right Time:
It is essential to apologize to someone when you know you have intentionally or unintentionally hurt them. By accepting responsibility for something you have done, you prove to the person that you regret hurting them and their feelings matter to you. Saying sorry creates trust and improves communication in your marriage.
The Wrong Reason:
Apologizing insincerely and solely to put an end to an argument can cause further problems. Saying sorry to someone else should also never involve partially putting the blame back on them, purposely or inadvertently. Also, it is generally not a good idea to promise the issue will never happen again. If the transgression does happen again (and it probably will,) you will look untrustworthy.
The Problem with Apologizing:
Often people feel that the act of apologizing puts the entire blame on them rather than just taking ownership of their part of the conflict, so they are hesitant to say they are sorry. Most people have a difficult time apologizing because they don’t want to admit they did something wrong. It is not easy to accept you made a mistake, but it is a necessary part of life and a critical element of a healthy marriage.
5 Simple Tips for the Most Effective Apology:
1. Start by actually SAYING the words “I’m sorry”
2. Reiterate what you are sorry for
3. Admit that you were wrong
4. Vow to do better next time (not that it won’t happen again)
5. Ask for forgiveness
4 Advantages of Apologizing:
1. Saying sorry shows you are sensible enough to accept fault for your wrongdoings
2. It enables you to rectify the issue and fix the damage done
3. Apologizing allows you to unburden yourself from guilt and tension
4. It serves as a reminder to do better next time, to try to handle the issue in a more positive way should the situation occur again.
Just as saying you're sorry strengthens a relationship, forgiveness does as well. Holding on to anger and resentment can slowly chip away at the communication and intimacy that make your marriage strong. When you are mindful of how to truly express your sorrow, then your spouse can more easily forgive and the two of you can move past the issue on a positive path. Both apologizing and forgiveness are vital to happy marriages and you will be on the giving and the receiving ends of both many, many times during your years together; it's important to do both well for the sake of your marriage.
Author Bio: Malini Bhatia is the founder of Marriage.com, a website dedicated to providing value in every marriage. Marriage.com provides resources, information and a community that supports healthly, happy marriages. Malini has global experience in international management and communications.Malini lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.