Learning Why And How To Apologize


What if I’m not fully to blame?

You and your spouse have just had an argument. ‘I don’t need to apologize,’ you tell yourself. ‘I’m not the one who started it!’

You drop the issue, but the tension lingers. You reconsider apologizing, but you cannot bring yourself to say those simple words “I’m sorry.”

WHY IT IS DIFFICULT TO APOLOGIZE 

Pride: Sometimes it’s hard to say ‘I’m sorry’ because one's ego gets in the way. Inordinate pride can make you too embarrassed to acknowledge your share of the blame.

You might feel that an apology is in order only if you are responsible for the problem. It is much easier for some people to apologize when they think they are hundred percent at fault. But when both partners say things they regret, it’s difficult. I mean, why should I apologize if both of us messed up?”

You might feel even more justified if you feel that what happened was entirely your spouse’s fault.

To some people, when they genuinely believe that they haven’t done anything wrong, withholding an apology becomes a way of declaring their innocence.

Upbringing: Perhaps you were raised in a household where apologies were seldom uttered. If so, you may not have learned to own up to your mistakes. Having had little practice as a child, offering sincere apologies as an adult has never become your habit.

WHAT YOU CAN DO


An apology can extinguish the flames of conflict

Focus on your spouse: Try to think of a time when someone apologized to you and how good that made you feel. Why not make your spouse feel the same way? Even if you do not believe you were wrong, you can apologize for the hurt your spouse feels or for the unintended consequences of your actions. Such words can help your spouse to heal.—Bible principle: Luke 6:31.


Focus on your marriage/relationship: View an apology, not as a defeat for you, but as a victory for your marriage. After all, a person who remains offended is “more unyielding than a fortified city,” says Proverbs 18:19. It is difficult, if not impossible, to restore peace in such a defensive atmosphere.

On the other hand, when you apologize you prevent the offense from becoming a barrier. In essence, you put your marriage ahead of yourself.—Bible principle: Philippians 2:3.

Be quick to apologize: True, apologizing may be difficult if you are not fully to blame. But your spouse’s faults do not excuse bad behavior on your part. So do not hesitate to apologize, thinking that the passing of time will cover up the offense. Your apologizing can make it easier for your spouse to apologize too. And the more you practice apologizing, the easier it will become for you.—Bible principle: Matthew 5:25.

Prove that you mean it: Rationalizing your behavior is not the same as apologizing for it. And saying, perhaps with a tinge of sarcasm, “I’m sorry that you’re so sensitive about this” is not an apology at all! Accept responsibility for your actions and acknowledge the hurt your spouse feels, whether you believe that the hurt is warranted or not.

Face facts: Humbly accept that you will make mistakes. After all, everyone does! Even if you think you are blameless in a situation, recognize that your version of what happened is probably not the whole story. “The first to state his case seems right,” says the Bible, “until the other party comes and cross-examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17) You will be more apt to apologize if you have a realistic view of yourself and your shortcomings.

Feel free to share this beautiful piece with your partner, family members, colleagues, friends and loved ones. Let us live in love by learning to take the blame.

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