How to Apologize to Your Spouse in 3 Sentences

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Michael Smalley offers three ways to apologize to your spouse, and to do so effectively!

Have you ever blown it with your spouse? I mean really just made a mess of things? I tell couples all the time that their expectation should never be to stop hurting each other’s feelings. We will always hurt each other’s feelings, so the real issue is how good can we get at repairing the hurt we are inevitably going to do.

The art of an effective apology is not that difficult if you know the 3 most important things that must happen. You can apologize well in 3 sentences, you just need to know what those 3 sentences are:

  • “Wow, it sounds like I really hurt you when I showed up late to your parent’s party.” The first thing that comes out of your mouth, if you are trying to apologize well, is to acknowledge that something negative occurred. You want to make sure your spouse hears that you know something happened and that you are not denying anything.
  • “That makes total sense that you would feel rejected and ignored by me not showing up on time.” The next sentence needs to contain whatever feelings or needs your spouse may have shared after acknowledging what had happened. This is your chance to really validate yours spouse by using his or her own words.
  • “What can I do to repair this with you or make it right?” Never assume that you know what your spouse needs from you to repair the hurt you afflicted. The easiest way to apologize and make things right is to simply ask your spouse what is needed from you.  This is the million dollar question and you had better be ready and willing to act on what is said to you.  If you do not act on what was asked of you, things will get much worse. If you feel like what was asked of you in unfair or unhealthy, then you will need a third party (like a trusted friend, mentor couple, pastor, or marriage coach) to help mediate the solution offered by your spouse.

I can assure you that if you utilize these 3 easy sentences when trying to apologize, things will go well for repairing the damage you caused.  If you do not, then good luck and good night.

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