“Successful relationships master the art of apology”
– The Gottman Institute
There is no such thing as a perfect partnership. However strong and stable your relationship may be, it inevitably stumbles from time to time. Disagreements happen, careless words might be said, anger might be expressed inappropriately, insensitivity manifested, or trust broken. Whatever it is, harm has been done and feelings got hurt.
Making mistakes is what makes us humans. But when you’ve hurt your partner, knowing the right way to apologize makes all the difference. True apologizes strengthen, not diminish your relationship.
Obviously, some mistakes are bigger than others, and sometimes saying sorry is not enough. Knowing you’ve hurt the one you love feels awful. You might become frustrated when it seems like whatever you do makes things worse. It is easy to feel hopeless when you simply don’t know what to do to fix things.
Apologizing to your partner and healing your relationship involves more than just saying “I’m sorry”. Let’s see what you can do to effectively start reconnecting again after you’ve hurt your partner.
Offer Sincere Apology
Okay, this sounds like an obvious one, but it’s important to highlight what an honest apology really is.
Genuine apology is directed toward your partner’s hurt and possibly healing the damage your actions have caused, not necessarily on getting forgiveness. If your main reason for saying sorry is to get things back to normal as soon as possible and enjoy the beauty of your relationship again, your apology is not sincere and might even make things worse. Chances are high that your partner will recognize your apology as manipulative, you will get frustrated pretty quickly and things will escalate again, damaging your relationship even further.
So, before you apologize, get honest with yourself about why you want to apologize. What are you genuinely sorry for? Try to see things from your partner’s perspective.
Acknowledge Their Hurt And Don’t Get Defensive
When you finally decide to go to your partner and apologize, prepare to get uncomfortable. Your partner might interrupt your apology by describing how much you’ve hurt them and what they are going through after your actions. In this case, it’s crucial to let them speak and not interrupt them with your view of the situation.
“Don’t listen to respond, listen to understand”
Apologizing can seem scary for some people because it puts them in a vulnerable position. Naturally, following the need to protect themselves from guilt, they get defensive. However, for the offended party, defending your behavior and giving explanations is seen as trying to get excused from the situation and avoiding to take responsibility for your actions.
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse”
When someone is hurt, the most important thing for them is to feel understood. You need to show your partner that you are aware of the pain that you have caused and address it in your apology. Take responsibility for hurtful things that you said or did. This means that you won’t blame your partner for how you behaved and that you will resist the temptation to get defensive. Don’t minimize their feelings or question their logic. Remember, your job here is not to be right, but to help your partner feel listened and cared for.
Express Willingness To Do Whatever It Takes
Tell your partner what have you learned from the incident and list the things that you will do or change to avoid repeating the same mistake again. It’s important, however, to really believe in this and to make it realistic. False promises will only damage your relationship even more.
We are all different people with a unique set of traits and different needs. Thus, what you think is helpful might not be what your partner actually wants so to feel better. Instead, find out what your partner needs from you in order to find a resolution. It shows to your partner that you respect them and that their feelings are important to you.
Sometimes, even the one that is hurt doesn’t know what exactly would make things better. That’s okay. As long as you show them that you are there for them, that you might don’t know how to make things better but you are willing to learn, it’s already healing.
Be Patient And Don’t Push For Forgiveness
It’s understandable that you want your relationship to get back on track as soon as possible. But, remember that your main objective was not to get forgiveness and be comfortable again quickly, but to make things easier for your partner and start building trust and connection again. Therefore, give your partner some space and time to process all those unpleasant emotions of anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment etc. Don’t rush them through this process or blame them for taking “too long” to forgive you.
After the apology, it’s important not to act like everything is back to normal and nothing happened. Forgiveness is a process, not an event. Even if things in your relationship seem ok shortly after the apology, wounds are probably still fresh and you need to be patient and gentle with your partner. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your commitment. Actively show through your actions that you are willing to invest your time and energy to make things better for your partner.
Knowing how to apologize properly and meaningfully is one of the keys to successful relationships. However, it’s important to know that apologizing is not about accepting the blame for something. It’s about acknowledging and responding to your partner’s emotional pain that your actions provoked. You can, and should be accountable, but everyone is responsible for their emotional reactions too. It is not acceptable for an upset partner to be abusive, physically or verbally.
It takes an active part from both partners to repair a situation.
We are human! Which also means, there’s no shortage of varying opinions, views, and thoughts on topics that we encounter every day. Politics, religion, how to raise kids, money, family – any of these topics, plus more, can have an influence on your interactions with others. But what happens when you disagree about topics with a romantic partner, or family member, or friend? Can you keep your point of view without offending or ruining the relationship?
Here are 3 strategies to disagreeing on certain issues while still maintaining a strong connection with your loved ones:
1. Ask Yourself Why
Sometimes people like to argue, for the sake of arguing. Maybe you grew up in a household where people disagreed often, or maybe you have strong opinions on most subjects. However, ask yourself, is having a strong point of view worth it in this relationship? If you feel strongly about a topic maybe it’s worth it to express your opinions in an open, assertive way. Using “I-Statements” is a healthy way to express opinions without offending or insulting those you’re conversing with.
Also, be conscious of your environment. A workplace or family gathering is not the place to have a heated debate. Sometimes taking a deep breath or two and waiting till later to express your views can help you with expressing assertively, rather than aggressively.
2. Practice Respect
It’s perfectly fine to express your thoughts and opinions, but doing so in a respectful way is a sure way to keep the peace, and keep your relationship. Sometimes, this can be difficult if you get worked up and feel heated about a particular subject, but expressing yourself assertively without name calling or bad language can be a sure way to disagree respectfully.
3. Take a Break
Sometimes, you will notice that the argument, or disagreement, keeps going around in circles. Are you disagreeing on the same thing you discussed 45-minutes ago? Agreeing on taking a break and putting the issue “aside” can help you calm down, feel more positive emotions, and gain a different perspective to help you come to common grounds with the person you’re disagreeing with. Give it a try – and don’t forget to practice deep breathing!
Disagreeing on important or tough issues can be done in a peaceful, productive way! Not every debate or argument needs to end with one person conforming to the other’s point of view. By using respectful language, keeping your emotions in check, and listening to and valuing the other person’s story, you can successfully agree to disagree. Remember, it takes two to tango!
Have you ever felt like others misunderstand your words and intentions? Do you find yourself getting in similar conflicts over and over? Do you find it hard communicating with certain persons? If you’re finding yourself in these statements, you’re not alone feeling like this. Whether you’re experiencing conflicts in your workplace, with your family or romantic partner, it’s extremely stressful.
A Way To Learn to Better Communicate and Resolve Conflicts
Alan Sharland, according to his webpage, has spent over 18 years as a Mediator and Trainer in Conflict management skills. As such, helped thousands of people to resolve conflicts successfully.
In his e-book, he writes about helping people create more effective ways of communicating. For example, as conflict can bring about emotional difficulties, he writes about helping people find more creative ways of responding within their conflicts. What Alan shares is what to consider and become aware of when communicating with others, whether the conflict gets resolved or not, so that we can continue on enjoying what relationships should bring to our lives.
How do you feel about conflicts in your life? Have you read Alan’s e-book? It might be useful for you, check it out.
If you would like to learn more about conflicts and successful communication, you might want to take a look at our article: “Disagreeing but Staying Cool”. You’ll find 3 strategies to disagreeing on certain issues while still maintaining a good connection with the person you’re disagreeing with.
How to bake a cake? Google it. What is a net-worth of some celebrity? Google it. Any statistical data, any solution for a concrete problem? Google it. Bur where and how to find yourself? Errr… there is no algorithm for that. Which does not mean Google can’t help with that too.
“Search Inside Yourself”
Google recently launched a free emotional-intelligence training called “Search Inside Yourself”. It is a mindfulness-based program that teaches Google employees practical ways to implement mindfulness into their work lives. In accordance, three basic skills that this useful, business-friendly training is covering are attention, self-knowledge (and self-mastery) and useful mental habits. The training received great reviews and woke up lots of interest which made this program one of the most demanding among Google employees.
One of the employees who took the course says:
“I’m definitely much more resilient as a leader,” he says. “I listen more carefully and with less reactivity in high-stakes meetings. I work with a lot of senior executives who can be very demanding, but that doesn’t faze me anymore. It’s almost an emotional and mental bank account; I’ve now got much more of a buffer there.”
More details about the course and its creator here: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/technology/google-course-asks-employees-to-take-a-deep-breath.html
My personal opinion on this particular program is that it’s a fantastic way to motivate employees and make a positive working environment. Since it’s based on mindfulness, it can help people create the calm head-space, which will lead to more relaxed, collaborative and warm climate in the workplace. Great job Google!
Countless couples complain about losing the spark in their relationship. There is no excitement anymore, butterflies are gone, and they’re just stuck in a rut that they don’t know how to get out from. Some of my clients are reporting they are becoming frustrated with their long-term partners, experience emotional distance, and problems in the bedroom. In situations like these, feeling of hopelessness, fear and boredom are completely normal. Not being able to answer where the spark has gone, why that happened, and will it ever come back is frustrating and confusing.
What is the SPARK and How to Keep It Alive?
First of all, to answer some of the above-mentioned questions, we need to define the SPARK.
“THE SPARK is the natural chemistry between two people creating desire, admiration, cooperation & respect. It’s maintained naturally between two people who resonate emotionally, mentally, physically & spiritually.”
Be careful though – the spark differs from lust in many ways. Simply put, lust gives you physical attraction and desire, but this is a just a small component of the spark.
But what to do when you find it hard to understand each other? What to do when you feel like you’re not emotionally compatible, and your bedroom is slowly dying? Well, fortunately, there is a solution. After numerous studies, scientists have found three main weapons that keep the spark alive and a long-term relationship successful.
1. Effective Communication
Talk to your partner! We all know that communication is a vital part of every relationship, but did you know that it also highly correlates with passion? Couples who find a way to communicate successfully and to understand each other without judging are more likely to sustain passion in their relationship. This happens because couples who have good strategies for communicating can openly discuss their sex life and their likes and dislikes in the bedroom, which leads to more freedom in exploring and fulfilling each other’s desires.
Research has shown that mindfulness is highly connected to relationship intimacy. In other words, couples who are constantly mindful about their relationship experience greater sexual desire toward each other. Being mindful about the relationship means setting aside time to spend some quality time with your partner and trying to constantly pay attention to partner’s emotional needs. Try it for a while and see how the spark slowly shows up again between you two.
Make your friendship a priority. When the life gets in the way it’s easy to forget all the good things you love doing together. Engage in the activities you both enjoy, laugh together and have fun. Remember that you’re friends in the first place, so appreciate the honest friendship within your relationship.
Every relationship takes work. However, it doesn’t have to be a hard work; just willingness to improve yourself and then your relationship can do wonders. Remeber, oftentimes the spark is not lost; it’s just hidden behind all the hustle and bustle you’re facing every day. It takes just a little attention and it will shine again.