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Apologizing to Your Beloved

As I begin to formulate my thoughts about apologizing to your beloved partner, I’m reminded of two popular sayings from yesteryear. One is that, “You always hurt the ones you love.” The other that springs to mind is a line from the 1960’s movie, Love Story: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”couple-fighting

For me, the first quote mainly refers to two tenets:

  1. Loving a mate is very high voltage, so it’s easy to become (very) upset and turn on your beloved.
  2. A prevalent tendency is to take liberties toward your lover, believing that s/he is likely to tolerate, accept or forgive your hurtful behavior more readily than others would.

However, I’ve found from my personal and professional experience that painful remarks and acts can leave scars or deep wounds, especially if they involve a major and/or frequent abuse. Criticisms alone can seriously erode your relationship.

Regarding the second quote, while you’re never required to offer an apology for wrongdoing, the cost of  withholding your expression of remorse can be insidiously high. Being too stubborn or “proud” to appropriately apologize has a heart-hardening effect, in addition to perpetuating your partner’s hurt and resentment.


Here are some of my suggestions regarding apologizing:

  • Be quick to offer a sincere apology, which often involves saying more than a rote, “I’m sorry.”
  • State specifically what you are genuinely sorry about.
  • Refrain from adding a but or except after your apology, which usually undermines or undoes the apology. Rather, after a reasonable pause, say something like, “What I need you to understand is…” or, “The part I won’t apologize for is…”
  • If you feel like touching or hugging your partner and couple-talkings/he is willing to receive your gesture, doing so can have a softening effect.
  • You may need to repeat your apology, perhaps several times or more, if you have really hurt or offended your partner.
  • Offering some form of make-up or restorative act may be in order and may serve to facilitate your mate’s forgiveness.
  • Strive to learn from your misdoing and intend not to repeat it.
  • If you have hurt one another in a heated argument, be willing to be the first to express your regret.
  • If necessary, humbly request your partner’s forgiveness.

I’d like to end by quoting a magazine article excerpt about a woman who, in witty fashion, demonstrated an exceptionally forgiving posture:

On her golden wedding anniversary, my grandmother revealed the secret of her long and happy marriage. “On my wedding day, I decided to choose ten of my husband’s faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook,” she explained. A guest asked her to name some of the faults. “To tell the truth,” she replied, “I never did get around to listing them. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, ‘Lucky for him, that’s one of the ten.'”

~ Roderick MacFarlane, Readers Digest, December 1992.

Given that spirit of forgiveness, apologies would come a lot easier, huh?!

Toward reconciliation,
Jim Sharon
Ruth Sharon
Your Relationship Coaches

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