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  • William & Bridgette O’Neal

3 Powerful Reasons for Learning to Apologize Effectively in Marriage Relationships


What if we told you that learning to apologize effectively is one of the most important skills you can learn to develop for your marriage. Though we'd all love to have a fairytale life where we live happily ever after without ever offending one another, this is just not possible. If you've been married for a little while I'm sure you can attest to this. Below, we have listed 3 powerful reasons why it's important for you to learn to apologize effectively in your marriage:


1. When couples practice apologizing this helps to maintain an emotionally healthy relationship. Everyone desires to be treated with respect, in our homes, on our jobs, in our places of worship, in our communities, by our loved ones. Our relationships should be a safe haven where we can be open and vulnerable. Sometimes we can allow the cares of the world, and familiarity to cause us to say things or act in a way that can be hurtful to our spouse. When we say or do things that offend our spouse, we must be willing to quickly apologize to restore the broken trust between us. The longer we wait or if we never apologize because "we do not think we’ve done anything wrong.” This can cause tension in a marriage which can lead to discord in the home, which can impact our children, our work and our mission as Christians. The Bible says "a soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger." The scriptures also say in Ephesians 4:26-27 “do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil." When we sincerely apologize to one another, we fill each other’s emotional love tanks, which helps us maintain emotionally healthy relationships.


2. Effective apologies help open the path to real conflict resolution. It has been said that many couples leave one another long before they make it to the divorce courts. This is because many times they build walls between themselves with the bricks of unresolved conflict. As we know, conflict will happen however, it is important that we work through the conflict effectively. When one or maybe both of the partners are offended a sincere apology is often the only way back to civil dialogue. Without civil dialogue, it is virtually impossible to work together to come up with agreeable solutions that help us to move forward in unity. Agreement is the key to achieving great things in any relationship including business partnerships and marriage. Hurt that may have been caused by an offense will cause one or both of the partners to withdraw from dialogue or be abrasive in attempts at dialogue. When we learn to apologize effectively, we create an environment in which real conflict resolution is possible. Please note that conflict is not always bad: It can lead to better processes, better understanding, and better ways of accomplishing goals that are important to us. It's just that when we notice that we have offended our spouse, we must be willing to apologize in a way that helps them to understand that we sincerely want to walk in agreement with them, in order to resolve the conflict at hand.


3. Couples who know how to effectively apologize model the way for their children who will also need this skill in life. There is an old adage that says, "Some lessons are taught, and some lessons are caught." This means that sometimes people learn from what we say, and, in some cases, they learn from what they watch us do. It is very important that as parents we modeled the way of effectively apologizing in front of our children. This way as they grow up, they will have role models and examples for how to address conflict particularly when they've caused an offense. We can display these examples by allowing them to see us apologize to one another as husband and wife. In some cases, these lessons may come when we find the need to apologize to our children directly for something that we may have said or done to offend them. Sometimes we may fear that we will lose credibility or influence with our children if we apologize to them, however the opposite is true. They will see that we display integrity of character when we are willing to address and correct mistakes.


Would you and your spouse like to learn to effectively apologize in your marriage? If so, please join us at the Heart of Marriage Retreat where we will facilitate small group discussions around "The 5 Apology Languages: The Secret to Healthy Relationships" book by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas.


William & Bridgette O’Neal Living Word Church Ministries

Atlanta, GA

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