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Monday, December 23, 2013

making "i'm sorrys" work...

As a follow up to my MMM post a few weeks ago called 5 Marital Ground Rules for a Better Marriage, the 2nd ground rule was, “Say I’m sorry, always.” The truth is, I’m sorry is one of the best conflict busters which are two words that can quickly end the spark before it turns into a wild fire. Saying these words is an important marital ground rule that will maintain a healthy level of love and respect in your marriage--something every couple desires.
But what happens when I’m sorry simply doesn’t work? What if your spouse wasn’t “really” apologetic in the first place? And what if there is a negative pattern of saying I’m Sorry, then a few days/weeks of a “better” marriage and back to the negative behavior? What happens when the apology or lack of apology makes it worse?

Well, what these questions show are the kind of challenges marriage does really present sometimes on a daily basis. Are there answers to these questions or practical advice to these challenges? As a follow up to this marital ground rule, here are 3 tips on making I’m Sorry work for you and your marriage relationship.

1.    Admit it, admit it, admit it! Something my wife and I remind our kids on a regular basis is to say, “I did it and I am sorry!” Both our sons realize the best way to quickly resolve an argument or fight among themselves is to just simply admit it and apologize. In my strong opinion, the best way to make I’m Sorry work for you and your marriage is to move past the stubbornness; admit it, apologize and watch your relationship grow.    

2.    Empathize is the best way to thrive! You all have heard, “If only you were in my shoes.” One of the best antidotes to apologizing is empathy.  When you take yourself out of the scenario and try and understand your spouse and their perspective, you will be amazed how much easier it is to apologize. The best apology is to not try and debate who started it but to rather understand each other.

3.    Hire a Marriage Coach! More often than not, a lack of clear direction can keep arguments and fights going. We all have a blame indicator within us that reads, “He/she did it, NOT me.” Why don’t we apologize in the first place? Well, we think, “Why say sorry for something they started?” In repetitive situations like this, you need a coach to help you create a good game plan to win, not lose. A Marriage Coach is one who doesn’t play referee but one who plays the supporter role as an outside, 3rd party person to help guide you along.

Truly, marriages that know how to apologize and accept the apology are relationships that grow and are contagious. Marriages that don’t know how to say I’m sorry are relationships that live in ruts. The next time you find yourself in a situation to apologize, try not to do the normal thing of holding a grudge or seek revenge. Rather, admit it, empathize or hire a Marriage Coach if necessary. You and your marriage will be better for it!

Rob Lane
Marriage Mechanic
Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.

*Lead photo created using the app A Beautiful Mess, available for sale here in the iTunes app store! Thanks ABM app for the creative tool!


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