Category: Apology

Love is Patient

Some people find it strange when I suggest that the greatest thing you can do for an estranged spouse is to love him or to love her. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus taught. We are to love even our enemies and we are to return good for evil. One of the ways in which you express love to a spouse who has walked out on you is by being patient.

The scriptures say, “love is patient”. Your marriage did not fall apart overnight and it will not be rebuilt today. Don’t set time limits for yourself or your spouse. Be patient with your spouse’s ambivalence. During separation people are often pulled in two directions:  On the one hand is the desire for reconciliation, on the other, there is the pain and hurt that says, ‘give up’. Patience is the first step toward love.

Love Our Enemies

Can you really love a spouse who has been unfaithful to you? One lady who was reading my book Hope for the Separated, told me that when she came to the chapter on “long distance love” that she threw the book on the floor and said to herself, “I’ll never love him again after all he’s done to me.”

“A few days later”, she said, “ I  picked up the book and continued reading. I discovered that Jesus said that we were to ‘love our enemies’. Well my husband certainly qualified. It took a few weeks, but I remember the day I baked him a pie and took it to his apartment. It was the beginning of our process of reconciliation.” Yes, with the help of God we can love those who hurt us deeply.

Try Writing

If you find it difficult to share your feelings with your spouse, try writing your thoughts and feelings in a letter to your spouse. Many times it is easier to write than it is to speak. When you become comfortable writing the letters and your spouse responds with comfort and encouragement, you will eventually learn to verbalize your feelings.

Writing can be a big step in the process of learning how to communicate openly about your ‘inner self’. After writing a few letters, you might try reading the letter to your spouse. Step by step you can learn to share your thoughts and feelings. A listening ear on the part of your spouse often provides the encouragement to continue to communicate.

My Side of the Wall

Many couples are at a stalemate because they have allowed a wall to develop between them. Walls are erected one block at a time. It may be as small as failing to take out the garbage or as large as failing to meet sexual needs. Instead of dealing with the failure, we ignore it. One failure after another is ignored. The wall becomes high and thick. We were once “in love” but now only resentment remains.

There is only one way to remove a wall. We must tear down the blocks on our side. Someone must take the initiative. Will your spouse forgive you? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try. Confess your past failures and ask God to help you make the future different. The wall is not as thick when your remove the blocks on your side.

Apologizing – Learning to Express Regret

What most people are looking for in an apology is sincerity. But how do you determine sincerity? Research has revealed that there are five basic elements to an apology. I call them the five languages of apology. For an apology to be accepted, you need to speak the language that conveys to the offended your sincerity.

The first language of apology is expressing regret, or saying, “I’m sorry.” It is expressing to the offended person your own sense of pain that your behavior has hurt them.

Specific
Without the expression of regret, some people do not sense that the apology is adequate. A simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way toward restoring goodwill. An apology has more impact when it is specific. The details reveal the depth of your understanding of the situation and how much you inconvenienced your spouse.

“But…”
Sincere regret needs to stand alone.  It should never be followed with “But…” One husband said, “She apologizes, then blames her actions on something I did to provoke her. Blaming me does little to make the apology sincere.”

When we shift the blame to the other person, we have moved from apology to an attack.  Blame and attacks never lead to forgiveness and reconciliation.  When you are apologizing, let “I’m sorry,” stand alone. Don’t continue by saying, “But if you had not yelled at me I would not have done it.”

Regret!
For many people, receiving a sincere expression of regret is the strongest language of apology. It is what convinces them that the apology is sincere. Without it, they will hear your words but they will appear empty.

Featured Resource: The Five Languages of Apology

Apologizing – Learning to Express Regret

What most people are looking for in an apology is sincerity. But how do you determine sincerity? Research has revealed that there are five basic elements to an apology. I call them the five languages of apology. For an apology to be accepted, you need to speak the language that conveys to the offended your sincerity.

The first language of apology is expressing regret, or saying, “I’m sorry.” It is expressing to the offended person your own sense of pain that your behavior has hurt them.

Specific
Without the expression of regret, some people do not sense that the apology is adequate. A simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way toward restoring goodwill. An apology has more impact when it is specific. The details reveal the depth of your understanding of the situation and how much you inconvenienced your spouse.

“But…”
Sincere regret needs to stand alone.  It should never be followed with “But…” One husband said, “She apologizes, then blames her actions on something I did to provoke her. Blaming me does little to make the apology sincere.”

When we shift the blame to the other person, we have moved from apology to an attack.  Blame and attacks never lead to forgiveness and reconciliation.  When you are apologizing, let “I’m sorry,” stand alone. Don’t continue by saying, “But if you had not yelled at me I would not have done it.”

Regret!
For many people, receiving a sincere expression of regret is the strongest language of apology. It is what convinces them that the apology is sincere. Without it, they will hear your words but they will appear empty.

Featured Resource: The Five Languages of Apology

Solutions for the Silent Treatment

desperateMarriagesWhen your spouse gives you the “silent treatment” there are always reasons; usually a historical reason, an emotional reason and a contemporary reason. The contemporary reason is that something has just happened that the spouse finds objectionable. For Mike, it was Jill’s announcement that she was going to spend the weekend at the beach with her girl friends.

The emotional reason was that Mike did not feel secure in Jill’s love. He reasoned, “If she loved me she would want to be with me.”

The historical reason was that Mike had learned the “silent treatment” in his childhood. His parents would not allow him to argue with them, so when he felt hurt or angry, he learned to be silent.

If you have been given the “silent treatment” by your spouse, here are the three questions you need to answer:

1. What have I done or failed to do that my spouse might have found objectionable?

2. Have I been speaking my spouse’s love language lately?

3. What do I know about my spouse’s childhood that might help me understand his silence?

Blog for Books!

Congratulations to Cathrine, our March Blog for Books contest winner! Cathrine won a copy of Dr. Chapman’s book, The Five Languages of Apology. To find out more about our winner, take a look at her blog: http://mysquiggles.com/.

Keep commenting, we will choose a new winner next month!

Why Apologize?

In a perfect world, there would be no need to apologize. But in an imperfect world, we cannot survive without them. We are moral creatures. We have a strong sense of right and wrong. When we are wronged, we experience hurt and anger. Something within us cries out for reconciliation when wrongdoing has fractured a relationship. The desire for reconciliation is often more potent than the desire for justice.

Opening the Door

In marriage, domestic turmoil is often rooted in an unwillingness to apologize. For lack of an apology, couples declare war, which can last for years and often ends in divorce. I’ve wondered if sincere apologies would have changed that sad outcome. You cannot apologize for your spouse’s wrongs, but you can apologize for your own. When you do, you open the door to the possibility of forgiveness and you are on the road to reconciliation. There are no healthy marriages without apologies.

Can You Forgive Without an Apology?

If your definition of forgiveness is to release the person to God and release your hurt and anger to God, then you can forgive without an apology. But if by forgiveness you mean reconciliation, then an apology is a necessary ingredient. The Christian is instructed to forgive others in the same manner that God forgives us. How does God forgive us? The Scriptures say that “if we confess our sins,” God will forgive our sins.

You see, we often want our spouse to “just forget about what happened.” We don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to apologize. We just want it to “go away.” But things don’t just “go away.” God has provided a pattern for human forgiveness, and that pattern requires apologizing for our wrongs.

Learn and Speak a New Language

The art of apologizing can be learned! Recently, I released a book with Dr. Jennifer Thomas titled The Five Languages of Apology. I think you will find it a life changing book. What we have discovered in our research is that there are five basic aspects of an apology. I call them the five languages of apology.

The key to good relationships is learning the apology language of your spouse and being willing to speak it. Perhaps you’ve been saying “I’m sorry,” when your spouse needs to hear “I was wrong.” When you speak the primary apology language of your spouse, you make it easier for him or her to genuinely forgive you. When you fail to speak their language, it makes forgiveness difficult because they are not sure you are genuinely apologizing.

Remember the Five Languages of Apology?

# 1 – Expressing Regret

# 2 – Accepting Responsibility

# 3 – Making Restitution

# 4 – Genuinely Repenting

# 5 – Requesting Forgiveness

What’s yours? Take the 30-second quiz.

Learning to Apologize Effectively

Have you ever noticed that what one person considers to be an apology, is not what another person considers to be an apology? What is an apology?

It’s different things to different people. After three years of research, Dr. Jennifer Thomas and I have concluded that there are five basic elements to an apology. We call them the five languages of apology. Each person has a primary apology language, and one of the five speaks more deeply to them emotionally than the other four. If you don’t speak their language, they may consider your apology insincere.

A Question of Sincerity

Ever had someone apologize to you and you questioned their sincerity? Ever ask yourself why? It’s probably because they did not speak your apology language. They said, “I’m sorry.” But what you wanted to hear was, “I was wrong.” They said, “Will you forgive me?” But what you wanted to hear was, “What can I do to make this right?”

Many of our apologies come across as insincere because we are not speaking the apology language of the offended person. If couples can learn each other’s primary apology language and speak it when they offend each other, forgiveness will be much easier.

The Five Languages of Apology

Do you know the five languages of apology?

# 1 – Expressing Regret – “I’m sorry.” “I feel badly about what I did.”

# 2 – Accepting Responsibility – “I was wrong.” “It was my fault.”

# 3 – Making Restitution – “What can I do to make it right?”

# 4 – Genuinely Repenting – “I’ll try not to do that again.”

# 5 – Requesting Forgiveness – “Will you please forgive me?”

Speaking the Right One

When you apologize, you are trying to make things right. So you say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I know I hurt you and I feel badly about it. Will you forgive me?” But your spouse says, “How could you do that if you loved me? How can I forgive you when you never do anything to ‘make it right’?” You feel frustrated and don’t know what to do next. The problem is not your sincerity; the problem is that you are not speaking the right apology language.

Which Do You Want to Hear?

Which one of the five languages of apology do you want to hear? That is your primary apology language.

Apologize effectively by learning your spouse’s apology language and speaking it when you know you have offended each other. Ask your spouse, “When I apologize, what do you want to hear from me?” You may be surprised at their answer, but it will give you their primary apology language. Learning to speak each other’s apology language will lead you to a growing marriage.

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