THE BEST APOLOGY
DON’T apologize for someone else’s feelings. “I’m sorry you’re mad,” is not an apology. It’s condescending.
DO apologize for your own actions and attitude. “I’m sorry I was rude,” is an apology that tapes ownership. Be specific about what you did wrong. “I’m sorry for whatever made you mad” is NOT going to work.
DON’T add an excuse to your apology. “I’m sorry I was rude, but I was really irritated,” means you’re not really sorry. You feel justified for the way you acted and you expect to be excused. One way to remember this is that when you say “I’m sorry, but …” you’re really just a sorry butt.
DO ask for forgiveness when you apologize. “I’m sorry,” on it’s own, is just a statement. It requires no response. “Will you forgive me?” is a humble request that can rebuild a relationship. When you ask your spouse to forgive you, wait. Listen. Be prepared for them to say in response, “I need a minute, I’m not there right now.” When you are in the wrong, you are never owed forgiveness. Be grateful when you receive it.
DON’T expect a reciprocal apology. Let’s say you were in a fight. You were both rude and hostile to each other and now you’ve decided to be the brave one and apologize first. Do not apologize expecting your spouse to apologize equally. When you recognize you have done something wrong, just own your part of it. The end.
DO attempt to make a repair. Once you get through the brutal, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” it’s wise to make the next step and ash, “Is there anything I can do to make this right?”