By nature, humans are flawed. Consequently, people in relationships make mistakes. When those mistakes happen, apologies follow. But then what? Is simply uttering “I’m sorry” enough? Or should those words be partnered with more actionable items? Here are three mature things to do after apologizing.
It’s always wise to take the initiative to apologize. But don’t let your apology replace your partner’s need to share their feelings about your mistake. They may even want to offer comments about your apology. Be a good listener. Be receptive and be open to what they have to say. Maintain positive body language and do your best to control any negative emotions you feel. It’s only fair that you give your teammate a chance to share exactly how your actions made them feel.
2. Ask For Forgiveness
After you’ve listened, it’s time to ask for forgiveness. You may feel you’ve already done this by saying you were sorry. But asking for forgiveness is taking the extra step of granting power to the person who was harmed. You are acknowledging you made a mistake and they have the power to accept or decline your apology. Asking forgiveness is the act of humility that starts the process of relationship mending.
Lastly, the verb repent means to turn away from your error. This step is important because it completes the apology and rebuilds trust. You aren’t truly sorry if you plan to repeat the hurtful offense. So to move forward in the most conducive way, you should repent. Talk to your partner about what behaviors they expect in the future. And as a couple, you can work together to create a plan to avoid repeating similar incidents or avoiding your triggers.
Relationships are composed of two people that make one team. Whatever is a problem for one party, should be a problem for the collective. Therefore, the way you apologize is important to your relationship as a whole. Work toward bettering your relationship, even when you make a mistake. Instead of stopping at ‘sorry,’ make a habit of following it with these three steps.