Let me start by saying that I was so inspired to write “How to Apologize and Mean it” because I recently had to do most of this. Or more accurately because I wish I had done all this when I had to- gasp- apologize to my husband this week.
Most of the time, when Josh and I fight, there is usually not just one of us who wrongs the other. Most couples who ever get in some sort of disagreement will both have something they can apologize for. But in this post I’m talking about our side of the apologies and what we are responsible for. Here’s a few tips that, if nothing else, will allow you to sincerely apologize and, hopefully, begin to reconcile a hurt relationship.
1. Don’t wait to be the second one to apologize.
I am the worst at this! And it’s usually because I cannot get past my own hurt long enough to see that I have done anything wrong in the first place only to be embarrassed later on when my husband has done all the apologizing and I realize that I had hurt him too. This usually drags fights on to last longer than they need to and who wants that? My advice- even if you are mid-fight and you realize then and there that you mistreated your husband/wife/bf/gf/friend in some way, apologize. Better to do it right away than to let it simmer and boil over later (like my cooking reference there? ;))
2. Pray for God to forgive you.
Ask him to open your eyes to your sin and to let your sin break your heart. Many times we are too caught up in how we were wronged also or why we did it that we justify our hurtful actions to ourselves and we don’t allow ourselves to be convicted of our own sin. Before we can ever genuinely apologize, we must be convicted. Having the peace the comes from God’s forgiveness will make your desire that same peaceful relationship with your spouse.
3. Leave your pride behind.
When sincerely apologising, your goal is not to defend yourself or tell them how they made you do it or how they wronged you as well. You’re going to apologize for what you did wrong and then leave it at that. If you want to pray for God to convict the person who hurt you, go for it. But also pray for humility and strength to apologize without selfish motives. Sound hard? It is. And if you leave the conversation without a return apology when you feel you deserve one, give it time, give it prayer, and you’ll have peace about that.
4. Truly desire for the relationship to be restored and to bring glory to God.
This kind of goes along with leaving your pride behind and not apologizing in an attempt to receive an apology in return. If your mindset is genuinely desiring to reconcile the relationship, it will be much easier to control your pride, what comes out of your mouth, and how you react to their acceptance or rejection of your apology.
5. Remember: it’s not your job to make them forgive you.
It may hurt and you may feel indignant if they don’t accept your apology right away, but you came to them to apologize and ask forgiveness, that’s all. The rest is up to them and you can go on in peace least knowing that the relationship is ready to be reconciled when they are ready. Continue to loving, continue to be patient, continue to be kind.
1 Peter 3:1 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives”