I heard Dr. Gary Chapman on a podcast recently giving advice about marriage and family. One of the hosts, who raved about his book The Five Love Languages, asked him how to improve her relationship with her husband. She already knew his love language and had been speaking it for years, but wanted to take their relationship to the next level.
Dr. Chapman then encouraged her to learn about the five languages of apology. He explained that sometimes when we have a disagreement with someone and then apologize, they don’t receive it. They might not like the way we apologized and they don’t accept it as sincere or meaningful.
He gave an example I resonated with from my own family. He said someone might apologize by saying, “I’m sorry, will you please forgive me?”
But the receiver might get upset because the apology didn’t include a reference to the offense or the reason they were sorry.
Or another example is when a husband might apologize for being late by bringing flowers home for his wife, but that’s not meaningful to her. She would have preferred a phone call on his way home.
Just as we each have a different love language, we each have a different language of apology. It makes so much sense!
Once we learn to speak each other’s apology language, our conflicts and their resolution can be more meaningful and our relationships can come out stronger on the other side.
Combine that with speaking your spouse’s love language and you’ve got a recipe for a thriving marriage!
To read more about this topic, check out When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love by Dr. Chapman and Jennifer Thomas. Or look for the book The Five Languages of Apology at a used bookstore or thrift store. It’s the original version of When Sorry Isn’t Enough.