"I'm Sorry"


“I’m Sorry.”  These two words are so powerful for being so little and the importance of them in our marriages is immeasurable.  We have recently been going through a season where God is teaching us about apologizing to each to each other, of course, this means we have been going through a season of disagreements as well.  Arguing is never pleasant, especially when we argue about silly things we can’t believe we are arguing about.  Or when we get so far into an argument that we forget what we are arguing about!  No two people are the same, there are going to be disagreements in any relationship.  It is important to apologize to each other at the end of a disagreement.


While saying “I’m sorry” is the most important thing at the end of a disagreement, we feel that putting a name on what we are sorry for is also an important step in an apology.  Apologizing for specific things that were said or done during an argument let’s your spouse know that you understand what your part is in the disagreement, that you are sorry for each of your contributions and that you aren’t just giving a blanket apology to be done with the situation.  We feel putting a name on your apologies makes your spouse feel valued and quickens reconciliation time between the two of you.  There are times when it is difficult to know exactly what you should apologize for in an argument, give each other grace during these times and appreciate the effort towards reconciliation.


Apologies are so difficult both to give and to receive… be extremely sensitive to your tone and demeanor to insure your effectiveness. A snide sarcastic apology is like “crying wolf” and bewilders your partner from clearly hearing you once you really mean it.  Take time to make sure you are calm and can be effective before you start an apology.


In a recent argument we discovered that the timing of an apology can be crucial for your spouse to really hear what you are saying.  An effective apology should be made at a time when your spouse is able to hear you.  An apology directly following an argument may fall on deaf ears.  Some people need time or space to disengage from what has just occurred in order to be emotionally ready to clearly hear an apology.  On the other hand, some people need to be apologized to immediately to be able to move on from the conflict and towards reconnecting with their spouse.  Talking to your spouse about this during a calm time could prove beneficial for your relationship and the healing time after your disagreements.  Be aware your spouse may not know when they most effectively need to be apologized to and it is something you can both help each other figure out.


Apologizing isn’t always the easiest thing to do, it means admitting you were wrong and behaved in a way you wished you hadn’t.  Admitting this can put us in a fragile state, we don’t know how we are going to be received by our spouse.  Allowing your spouse space and time to apologize is important in making them feel heard and valued by you.  Making sure you are a listener during this time and not interrupting the apology allows you to be able to fully hear the apology and show respect to your spouse for having the courage to apologize.  Telling your spouse “thank you” is a great way to let them know you appreciate their effort and accept their apology.



  • Debi - The Romantic Vineyard

    Greg and Lisa,
    Welcome to the marriage blog world, and we are so happy to meet you. This post on apologizing is excellent. I love especially learning how your spouse receives an apology. This goes along with being a student of your spouse and all the ways that God has made them unique. What works for your marriage may not work for mine. We need wisdom for our own marriage that only God can provide. I totally agree with the need to “put a name on your apology,” like you so wisely listed. It’s too easy to say “I’m sorry!” That can mean all sorts of things–e.g. “I’m sorry you were offended.” “I’m sorry you didn’t see things my way!” Etc… But putting a name on it like, “I’m sorry for disregarding your advice and doing things my way. I realize how selfish I was being to not listen to you completely.”
    Anyway, thank you for devoting your brand new marriage to helping others grow a stronger, more loving marriage. May God bless your ministry for His glory!

    • Greg & Lisa

      Thanks Debi! God has really been showing us a lot about making up and making sure that our spouse knows our hearts in the matter while opening our eyes to their hearts as well. It will be interesting to see where this journey in reconciliation takes us 🙂 We are thankful for your support, we love!

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