ONLY THE STRONG & WISE SAY “I AM SORRY”
“It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an ever stronger person to
A business partner recently spoke to me harshly and I demanded an apology.
He refused! Rather, he tried to talk his way out of using these simple words “I am sorry”.
He kept dodging and evading the issue just so that he will not apologise. Immediately, I felt very sorry for his wife knowing that this is a major character flaw and the wife would be the one bearing the full brunt.
I was not going to let it go. I lamented to my husband and decided to cut all business ties with him. When he noticed I had gone quiet, he called and apologised
over and over again.
The wife was shocked! She confirmed that saying “I am sorry” is not in her husband’s dictionary but she had learnt to
live with it.
I informed her that she is part of the problem by acting as an enabler. Unfortunately, they will raise children who will mirror the bad behaviour.
An apology is very vital in any relationship(married or not)and not deeming it necessary to offer one says a lot about the individual.
Someone who refuses to apologise for a behaviour is more likely to commit the offence again.
The average man is not generous with the
words “I am sorry”. I guess the patriarchal / patrilineal society is
to blame for this.
However, there are women who also find it difficult to accept responsibility and apologise so this is not a behavioural
trait in men alone.
An apology is key to the survival of any relationship. Sometimes,apologising may be the only way necessary in order to clear
past issues and move on.
. An apology in your marriage is more than
saying “I’m sorry.” It is an attempt to admit you made a mistake, hurt
someone’s feelings, did something really stupid, made a bad decision,
etc. If only people realised how healing and therapeutic the words “I
am sorry” are, issues will be resolved more quickly and there will be
less malice and hatred in relationships.
Research has shown that it is often easier to offer an apology to a
total stranger or a casual acquaintance than it is to a spouse as we
tend to belief this gives the spouse being apologised to, the upper
Some spouses view apologizing as a sign of weakness that brings about
a loss of power and status. A spouse with this perspective may equate
apologizing with admitting inadequacy and incompetence, and thus, be
reluctant to apologize for mistakes, failures, or misjudgements.
To others, it’s humiliating to have to apologize. They may have been
ridiculed and criticized harshly by their parents when they made
mistakes growing up, and as a result, they try to avoid admitting to
mistakes and the unpleasant feelings that brings.
Contrary to some ethnical or traditional beliefs, apologising is NOT a
sign of weakness. A union between two people is bound to be filled
with incidences whereby an apology will be necessary. Sometimes, there
may even be many incidences within a day!
What you are doing is to accept responsibilty for your actions which
goes a long way into ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. When
things happen between two spouses, an oversight or mistake can take on
more personal tones and meaning. A spouse may harbour strong feelings
that whatever occurred was deliberate and/or intentional.
WHY SHOULD YOU APOLOGISE:
• To end the hurt and pain you have caused your spouse. When you love
someone, you do not want to see the person unhappy.
• You want to do what you can to insure that your marriage is on solid ground.
WHEN SHOULD YOU APOLOGISE:
• When you are genuinely sorry for what you have done or the pain you
have caused or are causing your spouse. An apology that is not genuine
and sincere, is not an apology.
AN APOLOGY BETWEEN A COUPLE SHOULD BE:
• PRIVATE: No family members or friends as this may complicate issues.
• ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY : Use “I” in your apology and don’t try to put
any responsibility for your behavior on your spouse.
• BE SPECIFIC: Start by saying you are sorry for what happened and
pledge to make amends or changes. Ask for forgiveness, express your
regret, sadness, guilt, etc and emphasize your determination to not
make the same mistake again. State what you are willing to do to make
things right again. Whatever you decide to do to make restitution,
make sure it is meaningful and something that you will do. Don’t make
promises you won’t or can’t keep.
• FINALLY, don’t push your spouse for an immediate response. Your
spouse may need time to respond.
• OPERATE IN DENIAL: Admit responsibility and apologise. Don’t try and
pretend it didn’t happen. Some individuals by not admitting fault
pretend they haven’t done anything “wrong.” It’s almost as though they
are afraid of owning any inappropriate behaviours because then they
also might have to take responsibility for other actions. So it’s just
easier to avoid and deny than to admit responsibility and apologize.
• LAUGH: its not the time to laugh or crack jokes. Your apology should
come with all the seriousness it deserves to make it genuine.
• WRITE A LETTER OF APOLOGY: – except you are there when its being
read by your spouse.
• JUSTIFY or rationalise the error
• FORGET to forgive yourself, too
Lastly, it takes a lot of wisdom and maturity to apologise.
“Apologising does not always mean that you are wrong and the other
person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more
than your ego”- Unknown
Is it difficult for your spouse to apologize and tell you that he (or
she) is sorry? Or is it hard for you to offer an apology? Make a
change today for a better relationship/marriage
Certified Relationship Counsellor(CRR)& Professional Therapeutic Counsellor.