All couples argue and have disagreements. While we can’t change the past by taking back something we have said or done, what we can do is lay the foundations for a better future. And that starts with one thing ― an apology.
How To Effectively Give & Receive An Apology
Conflict is inevitable in relationships. We are all human and so we will all make mistakes. The problem is, wounds can accumulate if we don’t acknowledge and tend to them, leading to a downward spiral.
However, your mistakes can be your biggest teachers. They provide you with opportunities to learn and grow. Once the damage has been done, the most successful couples make repairs, forgive, forget and focus on a better vision of the future ― and that involves the affective use of giving and receiving an apology.
To give and receive a successful apology is both an art and a science. It also takes two people ― the giver and the receiver. For an apology to be successful, it must be offered and it must be accepted. Without an apology, there is no opportunity for forgiveness. Without forgiveness, the apology cannot be complete and there can be no healing. Both partners, the offender and the offended, bear the responsibility for repairing what has been broken.
How To Give An Apology
Giving an apology takes vulnerability, humility, courage and faith. It begins the process of healing and rebuilding relationships by allowing you to open dialog with your partner. Saying sorry also gives you the opportunity to act better in the future, maintain your self-respect and restore your integrity in the eyes of your lover.
There are three parts to giving an apology:
- Own the mistake.
- Repair what has been broken.
- Vow to improve.
In short, the formula for giving an apology is: Own + Repair + Improve = I’m Sorry. I acknowledge I did X (own), I apologise (repair) and I vow to do Y from now on (improve).
For example, an effective way of giving an apology may sound like this: “Honey, I want to acknowledge not taking the bins out last night (own). It was lazy of me and so I apologise (repair). I will make sure I take them out next time (repair).”
How To Receive An Apology
We all have one thing in common ― the ability to chose. And we can all chose to forgive. In fact, it’s a choice we may need to make again and again if we want to sustain a loving relationship. Forgiveness frees us from the past instead of keeping us prisoners. Furthermore, when you forgive your partner, you also forgive yourself, because you make mistakes too.
There are three parts to receiving an apology:
- Thank your partner for caring about you and your relationship.
- Acknowledge your partner for owning up to their mistake and attempting to repair it.
- Accept the apology.
In short, the formula for receiving an apology is: Thank + Acknowledge + Accept = I Forgive You. Thank you for saying X (thank), I appreciate you owning your mistake (acknowledge) and I forgive you for Y (accept).
For example, an effective way of receiving an apology may sound like this: “Thank you for acknowledging you not taking the bins out (thank). I felt angry when you didn’t do what we had agreed but I appreciate you owning up because it takes humility and vulnerability (acknowledge). I accept your apology and forgive you and trust that next time you will do better (accept).”
Hurting your partner in a relationship is inevitable. We are all human and therefore we are all bound to make mistakes. While we can’t change the past, we can create a better future through the effective use of giving and receiving an apology.
The formula for giving an apology is to firstly, own the mistake, secondly, repair what has been broken and thirdly, vow to improve. The formula for receiving an apology is to firstly, thank your partner for caring about you and your relationship, secondly, acknowledge your partner for owning up to their mistake and attempting to repair it and thirdly, to accept the apology.
When you learn to say sorry when you make mistakes and when you learn to forgive when your partner makes mistakes, from a place of love and compassion, you lay the foundations for healing, leading to a more intimate, passionate and fulfilling relationship.