Have you ever blown it big time with your wife—so big that apologizing only seems to make matters worse? Even with tears in your eyes, the words “I’m sorry” sound more like nails on a chalkboard to her than music to her ears. It’s because the words “I’m sorry” can be so overused and abused by men that they can lose their impact on the hearts of some women.
1. “What can I do to make things right?”
As a man, my first inclination is to try to fix what I’ve broken. And 9 times out of 10, what I think will fix the problem isn’t the right answer. So, why not have her tell you what the right answer is and then, simply do what she asks? Maybe you’ve really screwed up, even to the point your wife doesn’t think what you’ve broken can ever be repaired or restored. But you’d be shocked by what a question like “What can I do to make things right?” or “Where should I start?” will do to begin the healing process. Just remember, it is a process and processes take time.
2. “What would you like to see me change?”
This is a great question to ask your wife instead of saying sorry because it will give her hope. Because if you’re like me, and you’ve been a repeat offender, she’s probably thinking you’re not ever going to change. So asking her to suggest a change for you to make at least shows her that you’re willing to try something different.
3. “You’re right, I really struggle with that.”Resist the urge to defend yourself or deflect when your wife calls you out for something.
Resist the urge to defend yourself or deflect when your wife calls you out for something. Instead, agree with her. Acknowledge that you need to change or grow. Maybe even ask her to pray for you. This is a vulnerable way of asking her for help when you need it.
4. “What can I do to start rebuilding your trust in me?”
Obviously, this is something you say if you’ve lied to your wife, betrayed her, or broken her trust. They say it takes a lifetime to build trust but only a minute to break it. And re-building trust with your wife after you’ve lost it can feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest. Instead of saying sorry, simply start by asking her what she thinks the first step should be.
5. “Could you find it in your heart to have mercy on me by not giving me what I deserve?”
If all else fails, instead of just saying, “I’m sorry” or asking, “Will you forgive me?” (again), try asking your wife to show you some mercy. I know this may sound like I’m playing with semantics, but the word “mercy” is significant, because it implies humility and brokenness on your part. And it’s something we usually need the most when we deserve it the least.
Earn some points: If you want to earn some points with your wife, share this iMOM article with her: Studies Show How Couples Stay In Love.
Sound off: What else can you do to supplement an apology in order to express sincere remorse to your wife?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Is it ever hard for you to apologize? Why?”