Ruth Graham Bell has very rightly said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers”. Both the husband and the wife need to forgive or to be forgiven at some point in their relationship. In order to be forgiven by your spouse, you need to apologize effectively in your marriage. An effective apology not only clears the bad feelings it also strengthens the relationship.
Do Not Try To Compensate For Your Mistake before Apologizing
At times couples make the mistake of not verbally asking for an apology. They try to compensate for their mistake by other things like giving gifts or try to make their spouse happy through other means. This might keep the peace for some time but there is a great likelihood that your partner will keep the grudge. You must talk about your mistake and verbally ask for forgiveness.
After verbally apologizing ask your spouse what you can do to make him or her feel better. Only try to compensate for your mistake after verbally communicating with your spouse regarding the whole issue.
Essential Ingredients of an Effective Apology
As Randy Pausch said, “A bad apology is worse than no apology”. An effective apology is sincere and heartfelt. If you have made a mistake and hurt your spouse then only a sincere and heartfelt apology gives you a chance to be forgiven and make amends in your relationship. The essential ingredients of a heartfelt apology are:
Your apology should be real. If your apology is not authentic and you are only apologizing to get out of a difficult situation then that apology won’t give you any benefit in the long run. For the time being your spouse might forgive you but your inauthenticity will show through your behavior and your spouse will know eventually. At that time it will be a lot more difficult to clear the emotional mess your fake apology will create.
You must feel and show that you regret what you have done. Feeling regret will make your apology sincere and showing regret will give a message to your spouse that your apology is real.
Sincere Intent for Future
The third ingredient of an effective apology is a sincere intent that you will not repeat the same mistake in the future. Your intent for the future can be sincere only if your apology is authentic and you feel regret for what you have done.
If your apology doesn’t have the aforementioned ingredients then your apology is fake and there is no point in giving a fake apology. Your fake apology might give you a short-term benefit but in the long run, you will be left exposed. At that time it will be a lot difficult to clear up distrust and emotional mess your fake apology has created.
Listen To the Grievances of Your Spouse
You might have a lot of explanations for your offense but you need to listen to the grievances of your spouse first. Listen to your spouse and try to understand their point of view and their feelings.
During this listening activity, you might be offended by the arguments made by your spouse. Before jumping into an argument remember your goal of patching up and getting forgiveness from your husband or wife. Listen with an attentive ear and a big heart. Once your spouse is done talking they will feel heard and understood.
Give Your Version of the Story
After you have listened to what your partner has to say you can then give your opinion regarding the whole incident. Remember to use “I” statements and do not try to blame your spouse for your mistake. You may explain the whole incident and contributing factors to your mistake but do not forget to own your mistake.
Tell your spouse that you will try your best to make amends and rectify your mistake in the future. Be real and truthful and in the heat of the battle do not make any promises which you cannot keep.
Try Your Best To Not Repeat The Same Mistake In Future
In the words of Paulo Coelho, “A mistake repeated more than once is a decision”. Like all relationships, marriage is a constant work in progress. In order to reap the full benefits of an effective apology, try your best to not repeat the same mistake in the future.
As to err is human, making mistakes in love relationships is very common. You need to be forgiven by your spouse for your mistakes to keep the relationship healthy and strong. In order to apologize effectively in your marriage, first of all, you must communicate with your spouse about your mistake. Do not try to compensate for your mistake before talking about the whole issue.
Authenticity, regret and sincere intent of not repeating the mistake in the future make your apology sincere and heartfelt. Listen to the grievances of your spouse with attention. Try to understand the perspective of your spouse. After that give your version of the story. Use “I” statements and do not try to put the blame of your mistake on your spouse. Last but not the least trying your best to not repeat the mistake in future also help to apologize effectively in your marriage.
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