Marriage: The Power of Apology



     Here’s a real character building exercise.  Go to your spouse and say, “I’ve been irritable lately, and I’m really sorry.”  Or maybe, “I hurt your feelings, and I’m really sorry.”  Or, “I haven’t been giving you my best lately, and I’m really sorry.”  Unless you’re perfect, one of these will do just fine.

     Here’s a crucial point.  Don’t explain your behavior away with a lot of reasons, justifications, and excuses.  Maybe you had every “right” to behave the way you did, but holding on to our “rights” never soothed hurt feelings or healed a relationship.

      Also, don’t expect that your spouse’s initial response will necessarily be positive.  Your spouse may take this opportunity to tell you just how awful you’ve been.  If this happens, accept it graciously.  If you respond with anger and defensiveness, you have defeated your purpose. 

     What keeps us from apologizing?  Pride, self-righteousness, “keeping score,” the fear of giving in, the fear of looking weak, the fear of losing face.  Yes, we all have these feelings, but why let self-inflicted feelings keep us from doing the right thing? 


Stan Hibbs, Ph.D.