6 Steps to a Complete Apology So There’s No Doubt You Mean It

6 Steps to a Complete Apology So There’s No Doubt You Mean It January 9, 2019

apologize to your husband after a fight

Has your husband ever said or done something that was completely insensitive and hurt your feelings? He might’ve started it, but you got in a few verbal jabs of your own.

You part ways before the thing’s settled because you each have a thousand other things to do–kids’ baths, pay bills, make lunches–so when you come back together later that night, the issue is still unresolved.

He’s most likely forgotten about it. But you haven’t. That thing about “not letting the sun go down on your anger” runs through your mind, but honestly, you really don’t care. You decide it’s dumb, he started it and you’re tired.

That scenario played out in my marriage more times than I’d like to admit early on.

How about you?

We get trapped in a power struggle

He’d say or do something. I’d get ticked. And we’d get trapped in this power struggle because neither one of us was willing to admit fault or apologize.

Learning how to say you’re sorry is a critical skill in a healthy marriage. It’s also usually the beginning of  reconciliation. When your husband knows you respect him enough to apologize, he may be willing to talk through things to find a solution.

It’s not easy apologize. Especially when he started it. But when you say or do something wrong, you should apologize, even if he started it.

Do you have a hard time saying you’re sorry?

He doesn’t believe you mean it

Or do you apologize sometimes, and he doesn’t believe you mean it?

Here are 6 steps to making an apology so he doesn’t doubt you mean it and will leave him feeling respected and loved:

1. Acknowledge

Admit you did something wrong.  Be specific.“I spoke to you in a way I shouldn’t have when you …”  

Nothing generic like, “Hey, sorry about that.”  That’s not taking responsibility. It’s almost dismissive, but identifying the specific offense and how it must have made him feel lets him  know that you understand the pain you caused.

2. Apologize

Say you’re sorry.  “I’m sorry for talking to you like that.” We don’t like to apologize.  It’s embarrassing. We think it makes us look weak. But humility actually shows strength of character.

3. Express regret

Let him know you regret hurting him. “I must’ve hurt you when I snapped at you. I feel bad.”

4. Accept responsibility

Own it.  I shouldn’t have acted like that. I don’t like hurting you or making you feel disrespected.” Don’t try to slip in an explanation or excuse. When you say,  “I”m sorry, but …” he’ll only hear what comes after the “but.”

5. Offer to make it right

Offer to try to respond differently next time. “What can I do to make it right?”  “I’ll try to respond in a more loving and understanding way.” “Or “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?

6. Ask forgiveness

Ask for forgiveness. “Will you forgive me?

So it looks like this:

I lost it when you were on your phone during dinner. I spoke to you in a way I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry for talking to you like that. I must’ve hurt you when I snapped at you. I shouldn’t have acted like that. I’ll try to respond in a more loving and understanding way. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better? Please forgive me. 


When your husband  sees you’re truly brokenhearted over hurting him and you think enough of him to apologize and ask forgiveness, he’ll feel loved and important. Then he may be open to discussing ways to address the issue that’ll make you both happy.

Will you get it right every time?

Probably not.

But making the effort goes a long way towards building and maintaining a healthy marriage.

Practice makes progress. You want progress not perfection.

Need skills to build emotional intimacy in your marriage?

  1. Visit my website  and  join my private Facebook group .
  2. Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
  3. Check out my FREE resources and download  How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
  4. Apply for private coaching with Sheila.

Subscribe to updates from The Not So Excellent Wife here!

Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be. 

She went from the brink of divorce to being married to a man who loves and adore her. (Yes, she’s married to the same guy!) Sheila started rocking her marriage when she learned to translate timeless truths into practical skills.

She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.

After 33 years of marriage, she’s a  coach,speaker and a writer who equips women to break relationship-stifling habits and do marriage God’s way. 

She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.

Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network.  Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.

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