You may be familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, but do you know about the Five Apology Languages? Just as there are optimal ways to express love to your partner so that they feel loved, there are optimal ways to apologize that most effectively lead to conflict resolution and a return to harmony. A sincere, straightforward “I’m sorry” is just one of the apology languages, and this won’t necessarily be as effective when communicating with those whose apology language is among the other four. Let’s have a look at each of the Five Apology Languages and understand how they differ.
This apology language requires recognition of the hurt you caused your loved one. Your partner is looking for a genuine, “I’m sorry,” which conveys you understand that you caused your partner emotional pain.
This apology language requires you to take ownership and responsibility for the wrongdoing. Your partner not only needs you to say, “I’m sorry,” but also needs you to admit to your wrongdoing. It’s important to accept responsibility without offering excuses or justification.
If this is your partner’s apology language, it’s crucial to follow up your apology with something like “How can I make this up to you?” or “How can I make things right between us?”. Your partner requires the opportunity to choose what they need to feel whole again.
This Apology Language not only offers a genuine apology, but also an expression for how you will make changes to ensure the hurtful action won’t be repeated. Those who have this apology language need to hear that their partner is willing to modify their behavior and explain how they will do better in the future.
If this is your partner’s apology language, it’s important to follow-up your apology with a request that they forgive you. This gives your partner a sense of control of the remediation.
Discover your Apology Language here:
If you haven’t done so already, discover your Love Language and/or your children’s Love Languages here:
Remember, professional help is always available if you are struggling in your relationships. If you need more information, contact Counseling Works now to schedule an appointment.
Written By: Julie Peterson, LCSW