How to Apologize Effectively and WW Linkup!

Apology in Marriage

I grew up in a home where apologies were rarely extended or witnessed. We were a loving bunch, but somehow this important practice of acknowledging our sins and apologizing to each other was never clearly present, at least not in my view.

Unfortunately, that also became true for my marriage in the early days. Gary {my hubby} was more likely the one to apologize, if there ever was one. But eventually, God woke me up to the necessity for this cleansing practice—and now I’m hooked!

I feel like most people are like me. They didn’t have good examples of admitting guilt and/or apologizing. The survey I’ve been conducting with men in relationships is bearing this out. So far it seems that the number one factor for not knowing how to communicate in marriage is or was a lack of good role-models. {Please click here if you’re a man who’s interested in taking the survey!}

Where do you begin?

  • Recognize and embrace that every person makes mistakes and sins.
    The more you normalize this reality and take away the “stigma of shame” about the failures and hurts you may cause in marriage, the better and quicker you’ll be able to own your offensive behavior.
  • Ask for God’s help moment-by-moment.
    As soon as you feel tension in your situation, pray and ask God to show you your part. Then humbly accept that truth by confessing to God, and then to your mate.
  • Find friends who are open and vulnerable about their faults.
    If you hope to make this your new lifestyle and culture in marriage, then you’ll need to surround yourself with friends who can support you, pray for you in this, and hold you accountable for being honest, humble and confessional.

How do you express an apology?

There’s a great book on the different types of apologies that we gravitate toward and value, called When Sorry Isn’t Enough by Dr. Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas. Like the Love Languages that Dr. Chapman developed, not every person has the same “Apology Language” either.

Click the link to the Love Language website to find out what you and your spouse’s apology languages are. I’m also providing an Apology Language Template that you both can use the next time you need to communicate your spouse’s preferred apology language.

When do you apologize?

If you are able to calmly and respectfully communicate an apology during a conflict, then more power to you! Pull out that template and share what needs to be said—yes, that means “reading it” to your mate! {Keep it in a “cloud” or “note app” of some kind, or simply print it out and have it handy wherever you are!}

I’ve found that in the heat of the moment my apologies often come out forced or tinged with bitterness. Typically, I need a bit of cooling down and processing before I can sincerely offer one—unless it is over minor matters and my “Amygdala” has not gotten hijacked! {Yep! That’s a real phenomenon!} It might be that you need that time as well, but don’t let it linger! Otherwise, you might just chicken out!

And always remember . . .

[bctt tweet=”Making sure that hurts are dealt with quickly through apologizing, ensures a soft heart and a healthy marriage. #marriage #conflict #apologize” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” ~Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)

Did you get your apology profile? If so, what was your preferred apology language?


Why do you think it’s important to take the apology preferences of your mate into consideration?


*Click on the link if you’d like to read more about the phenomenon of an “Amygdala Hijack.”


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17 responses to “How to Apologize Effectively and WW Linkup!”

  1. I love that you mentioned the “Apology Languages.” My husband and I definitely don’t have the same one! I seriously could care less if he never apologized ever again–they just aren’t important to me. Unfortunately, this means I often don’t even think to apologize when it IS important to him.


  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Have to give the phone back to Barbara, but wanted to say that Apology Languages is a great concept!


  3. […] Sharing with The Weekend Brew, Grace and Truth, Sunday Stillness, Still Saturday, Out of my control, Good Morning Mondays, Making your home sing, Living Proverbs 31, Mama Moments Monday, Art of Homemaking, Modest Monday, Testimony Tuesday, UNITE, Tell it to me Tuesdays, Not just Homemaking Party, Wake up Wednesday, Wedded Wednesday […]


  4. I did grow up with a family that apologized but it was more of “say you’re sorry” and not putting a whole lot of feeling or meaning behind it. It’s easy to say we are sorry but not so easy to forgive. I will need to look into apology languages because this sounds intriguing to me. Thank you for continuing this series and for the practical ideas and resources. What a treasure it is to learn from you. Much love as you journey through your Wednesday.


  5. Beth,
    I love Dr. Chapman yet I had not heard of “When Sorry is Not Enough”. I will for sure be checking it out! Thank you for sharing a new resource that I am confident will be amazing! Thank you for hosting this link up for us each week!


  6. […] Sharing With: Wedded Wednesday […]


  7. I am like you Beth, most times if I apologize in the heat of the moment, it hardly comes out right. So I often wait to coll off… but I make sure to cool off fast.


  8. Thanks for not only sharing some great wisdom about the importance of apologizing, but also the great links to learn even more. 🙂
    Hope it’s ok that I shared a link that isn’t exactly a marriage post. Our contributor wrote the article about the importance of openness in friendship, but I think it’s applicable here, because, after all, aren’t our spouses our forever friends? And, of course, granting our spouse “permission to speak” is oh so important!
    Thanks for hosting again this week, Beth. I always enjoying your posts even when I don’t link up!


  9. Mary Flaherty Avatar

    I love the love languages thing, but I never thought about having an “apology language.” Interesting. My love language is acts of service, but truthfully, when my husband attempts to apologize, he tends to “do things” to compensate and it drives me crazy. Just apologize! I’ll need to take some time to visit the website and to ponder this some more. Thanks for all the work you put into that template, Beth.


  10. I have one trick for prompting an apology from my own lips. I remember, “I will not let Satan get my marriage.” It crumbles my resistance every time!


  11. I’m a big fan of Dr. Gary Chapman. I’m glad you introduced me to the apology language. Always love linking her. Blessings Beth!


  12. I love Gary Chapman. My husband and I read his book together. I remember him being so surprised at his love language. It was no surprise to me. I love that man. Thanks for the link up, Beth.


  13. Thanks, Beth, for pointing me to a great resource with the “Apology Language.” I’ll add that one to my to-read list. : )


  14. I did the quiz thinking “what do I care what they /say/!?” and I got 16/20 for Make Restitution 😀 nice quiz thanks. Is that what they call Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

    For apologising myself, your template will be helpful, as will asking Jesus to be with me.

    What kind of apology does my wife like? No idea. I think I have to show that I understand why she is upset.

    I love reading your blog 🙂



  15. Hi, visiting from A Little R & R Linky Party. I grew up in a house where one parent would always be the one apologizing, and the other parent is now learning this lesson in life. It is truly cleansing to apologize for a wrong doing, and to be forgiven. Thank you for this wonderful article.


  16. […] to be linking up with Beth at Wedded Wednesday and Sheila at Wifey […]


  17. […] If you and your spouse struggle here, give it a try! For more on this subject, read how prayer improved my marriage here, and/or look at these posts on transparency and apologies. […]


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