Do you know the art of apologizing?

say im sorryYou may be thinking, is it that difficult to apologize? I didn`t know it either, before I bought this. In the book ” the things I wish I knew before i got married”, by Gary Chapman. It is written the rules of apologizing. Gary says that everyone does mistakes, but if we don`t ask for sincere apology, we won`t be forgiven and the resentment won`t go away, instead it will build up to become bigger. Here are a simple formula to how you can apologize to your spouse, five apology languages :

  1. Expressing regret : “I`m sorry” may well be the first words in expressing this apology language. However, you need to tell what you are sorry for. The words “I`m sorry” spoken alone, are much to general. For example, you might say, “I`m sorry I came an hour late, I know you have been waiting for me so we could go to the movie. I realize that we`ve already missed the first thirty  minutes, and you probably don`t want to go. I feel bad that I did not pay more attention to the time. I got busy with work at the office. I can`t blame anyone but myself. I feel like I have let you down big time”. This apology language is an emotional language. It is seeking to express to the other person your emotional pain that your words or you behaviour have hurt them deeply. If this is the apology language of the one you have hurt, what they want to know is: “Do you understand how deeply your behaviour has hurt me?”. Anything short of this kind of apology will seem empty to them.
  2. Accepting Responsibility :  This apology begins with: ” I was wrong” and then goes on to explain what was wrong about your behaviour. The person who has spoken harshly might apologize in the following manner. ” The way I talked to you was wrong. It is not loving or kind to raise my voice and speak harshly to you. I should not have allowed my temper to get out of control. I`m not blaming you. I`m accepting responsibility for my behaviour and I know it was wrong. The person who`s primary language is accepting responsibility, is waiting for you to admit that your behaviour was wrong.
  3. Making restitution : This apology language seeks to “make it right”. What people with this apology language wants to know is ” do you still love me?”. Your behaviour seems so unloving to them that they wonder how you could love them and do what you did. What they request for you to do will be in keeping with their love language.
  4. Genuinely expressing your desire to change your behaviour :This apology seeks to come up with a plan to keep the bad behaviour from reoccurring.
  5. Requesting forgiveness : “will you please forgive me? ” These words are music to those whose apology language is requesting forgiveness. In their mind if you are sincere, you will ask them to forgive you. This is what an apology is all about. You have hurt them and they want to know  “do you want to be forgiven?”.  “Do you want to remove the barrier that your behaviour has caused?”. Requesting forgiveness is what touches their heart and rings of sincerity. What most people want to know when you are attempting to apologize is ” are you sincere?”. However, they judge your sincerity by whether or not you are speaking what to them is a genuine apology. That means you must learn to speak your apology in their primary apology language. When you do, they sense your real sincerity.

Gary says that there are no healthy marriages without apology and forgiveness. He says he draws this conclusion from the reality that all of us are human and humans sometimes do and say things that are demeaning to other people. These unloving words and actions create emotional barrier between the people involved. Those barriers do not go away with the passing of time. They are removed only when we apologize and the offended party chooses to forgive.

Excerpt taken out from the book ” Things I wish I `d known before we got married ” , by Gary Chapman.

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