I remember our first fight after we were married. James playfully pounced on me Tigger-like and said gleefully, “I’m sorry!” I didn’t believe his sincerity one bit!
Since then, we have learned better ways to say those magic words, “I’m sorry.” Here are a few thoughts to guide you to a proper apology.
Take responsibility for your actions and words. No excuses. Swallow your pride and be willing to humble yourself before your spouse. Fight the urge to defend yourself.
Be specific in your apology. Don’t just say I’m sorry. Say I’m sorry I disrepected you. I never should have put you down in front of our friends. I meant it playfully but I know it was inappropriate and I won’t do that again.
See the situation from your spouse’s perspective. How might he or she be feeling? What kind of apology would you want if the shoe was on the other foot?
Don’t procrastinate. If you have to swallow a bitter pill, you might as well do it quickly! Plus you won’t waste too much time stewing when you could have the situation resolved and peace restored.
If you have had to apologize several times for the same offense, it is time for something different to happen or else you will find yourself saying “I’m sorry” again next week. Do you need to set up an accountability system? Brainstorm for a long term solution together? Seek the help of a counselor?
Ask your spouse to forgive you. If forgiveness is given, accept it and move on. Don’t continue to beat yourself up for mistakes made in the past. Remember tomorrow is a clean slate with no mistakes on it!