The Art of Apology
How to Deepen Your Relationship by Saying You’re Sorry
(Second in a 2-part series)
There is a second piece to the Art of Apology, it is the art of accepting an apology. If you are feeling hurt or angry you may not be inclined to readily let go of your feelings and accept an apology. You might not trust that your partner’s apology is sincere. When receiving an apology, asking questions, and allowing yourself time to think about what your partner said will begin to help heal your wounds. You will be able to forgive if you have thoroughly listened to your partner answer your questions and understand what he or she said about their behavior.
How to Accept an Apology:
- Listen to your partner’s explanation of their behavior.
- Refrain from interrupting, blaming or being aggressive toward your partner.
- Ask questions to help you understand what your partner is saying about their behavior and what their feelings are about the incident.
“Now I can see that not coming home on time was not intended to hurt me. I reacted before I had an opportunity to check out exactly what was going on for you.”
4. Use “I” statements to explain what your feelings are and why this is important to you.
“It is important to me that you understand that I feel disrespected when you don’t call me to let me know what is going on. I get worried about you and my anxiety turns to anger and frustration.”
5. Calm yourself if you find that you are getting angry listening to your partner. If need be you can request a time out to think about what your partner has said.
6. When you are ready, let your partner know that you accept and appreciate their apology.
“Thank you for explaining to me what happened the other night and letting me know that you support my efforts to take a class. This makes me feel respected. I accept your apology and feel closer to you now.”
Apologizing is an art that takes time and practice. One must learn to make a heartfelt apology and to accept an apology with grace. Ultimately, showing your partner that you truly care about the relationship by learning to give and receive apologies will strengthen the bond between the two of you and create a happier and healthier relationship.