Say, “I’m sorry.” That’s it. You can reword it, or put more emphasis, such as by saying, “I apologize.” or “I’m really sorry.” But basically, that’s how to say it. And if I say anything else, nothing more can really be added to that. Two words: “I’m”, and “sorry”. Say it, mean it, and live it.
Okay, obviously, there’s more to say about it than that. Not in the wording, of course, because you can say it in whatever way works for you. But the basic wording will essentially be the same. So what else is there to saying that you’re sorry? Let’s explore this…
Suppose you just had a fight with your spouse or partner. As is typical in knock-down, drag-out fights, you probably ended up saying things you didn’t mean. Then, after the words come out, you wished you could take them back. You may have to wait until tensions lessen before you apologize, but if you value your relationship, you must apologize. If you continuously create situations that require an apology, eventually those words will come to mean nothing, and that’s the kiss of death in a relationship. But I’ll talk more about this next.
Don’t even bother wasting your breath to say you’re sorry if you don’t mean it. However, when your blood pressure returns to normal and you’re no longer seething with anger, if you feel you’ve misrepresented your feelings by saying some hurtful things, then it’s imperative to the long-term health of your relationship, and to your own personal well-being, to apologize. If you apologize but you don’t really mean it, eventually you will begin to feel resentful because you’re masking your true feelings and saying you’re sorry when actually you feel like you’re not being heard or valued in the relationship, which might actually be true. If it is, then you have some heart-to-heart conversations that need to take place. But, most of the time, if you feel compelled to say you’re sorry, it’s because you truly are. Therefore, say it like you mean it.
Okay, so you said you’re sorry, and you really do mean it. What’s next? Well, nothing really. Oh…except one little detail. DON’T DO IT AGAIN! Listen, if you truly are sorry for saying or doing what you did, then you need to prove it to your spouse or partner by not doing it again. If you are constantly saying or doing things to hurt your partner, and each time you say you’re sorry, there’s a label for that. It’s called: The Abuse Cycle. That’s when you hurt someone (emotionally or physically), then you apologize, then you hurt them again…apologize…hurt…apologize, etc. Get it? The best way to prove that you sincerely didn’t mean to say or do what you did is to never say or do it again.
My attitude is, if you love your partner, why would you ever intentionally say anything or do anything to hurt him or her? Even if you’re frustrated with your partner or feel like you’re not being heard, you need to find a way to address these issues calmly and lovingly because love, trust, and mutual respect is the glue that will hold your relationship together under any circumstances.
I understand that we all have our moments when our own biases get in the way of saying or doing the right thing. So if you think that’s happened, and your partner didn’t say what you were hoping that he or she would say, just let it go until later when you’re both in the right mood and mindset to talk about it. Put your mind on other things, rather than ruminate on your fight.
If you’re uncomfortable apologizing, practice it on small things first, but this is a skill you should master. The bottom line is, your love for your partner should guide your words and actions during and after an argument…at all times, really.
So how do you apologize? With all your heart.