There is pain in our world. There is pain among couples who carry hurt feelings and just can’t heal them. I see this often in my work as a relationship counselor. Another thing I see is a statement from some people that goes like this, “I don’t like to apologize.”
Some are even more emphatic with, “I don’t ever say I’m sorry.” This is not uncommon for some people to think this way. Many people believe that if you apologize, you are showing a sign of weakness. Weakness is something many people believe they have to avoid at all cost.
The Cost of Pride: Emotional Disconnection
I wish I had a dollar for the number of times I have heard this belief. Because when I hear it my heart twists just a little. I feel a slight stabbing pain with a knowing that I will be walking a well worn world of sorrow for the person holding these thoughts.
I know that the person who can’t utter an apology, a simple, “I am sorry”, has spent his or her life feeling disconnected from the person they love and the one they might have hurt. It’s human nature to mix it up with the people we love. No relationship is without misunderstandings.
Apologies, Friction, & Mending a Relationship
It’s what we do that mends the misunderstandings that determine the health of any relationship. I am interested in how a couple repairs the mishaps because if both people can share their discomfort, there is great hope for the longevity of the relationship.
Unfortunately a lot of couples get into disagreements and then just stay mad. They wait until the intense feelings pass and then start over like nothing has happened. This works for a while but eventually all the hurts start to pile up and each person then starts walking around with a laundry list of wrongs done to them. That’s usually when couples start to talk about breaking up or seeing someone like me, a counselor.
Then they come in with their hurt feelings and want relief. They usually want the other person to change so they can feel better. What we always have to start with is what the couple does to repair the hurts. And that’s where we begin.
Apologies & Compromizing for a Better Relationship
There are steps to saying I am sorry. It’s not just a couple of words said off handedly to the other person. A true apology is from the heart. A real apology includes an acknowledgment of what the person did to hurt the other, like, “I am sorry I said that remark to you. I wasn’t thinking about your feelings when I said it. I am sorry.”
The reason an apology has to include the action that hurt the other person and the words is because when we get our feelings hurt we really need our mate to understand what hurt us. If they get what they did with real awareness and apologize for the moment it happened, there can begin something that most couples long for, and that’s true healing.
And that’s the beauty of an apology. It offers the person who receives it, a salve of love. It offers the person saying it, acceptance and love. And these are the feelings most couples desire and they are the keys to a good, lasting relationship.
Want to know more? Check out Linda’s new book about getting the most out of your relationship: Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.