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Apologizing is difficult to do but a necessary skill if you want to have a healthy marriage. Avoid some typical excuses for why people don’t want to say “I’m sorry.”

Apologies are hard, but they are vital to maintaining healthy relationships. The words “I’m sorry” are powerful and healing. Yet for many of us, we can’t bring ourselves to say them. Here are a few reasons why:

[Related: How to Ask for Forgiveness]

#1 You Don’t Feel Like You Did Anything Wrong

It’s hard to apologize when you don’t feel like you were in the wrong. But the truth is, you aren’t perfect. You can always find a way to do better. It’s healthier to realize that, even though you may not have messed up the way your spouse did, you have messed up in other ways.

#2 You Feel Like the Other Person Was Totally at Fault

It’s human nature to place blame somewhere else and to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. But in a relationship, it takes two to tango and there will always be an area you can identify to improve.

#3 Apologizing Makes You Weak

Many people view an apology as giving in, like it’s better to hide our faults than to own up to them. The truth is, being able to apologize means you have the strength to say you aren’t perfect and you can improve. It’s a brave thing to do, especially when it comes to your marriage.

#4 What’s the Point if I’m Going to Fail Again?

What is the point of apologizing if you will make the same mistake again? An apology, then, seems disingenuous. It is true that words can be cheap, but that shouldn’t be an excuse not to try. You should always apologize when you’re wrong but also strive to do better in the future.

[Related: What Is True Repentance?]

A healthy relationship requires that both parties have the ability to apologize. No one is perfect and we’re all prone to failure. Don’t waste time and energy trying to place blame somewhere else. Be brave and choose to apologize when you mess up. Your marriage will be better for it in the long run.

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. How quick are you to apologize when you’re wrong? Explain.
  3. Of the four roadblocks, which one are you most prone to claim? How has that roadblock affected your relationships?
  4. Why do you think people have a hard time apologizing?
  5. Describe a time an apology helped a relationship. Describe a time a lack of an apology hurt a relationship.
  6. Read Romans 10:13. The Bible teaches that anyone who truly calls out to God will be forgiven of their sins. But if we don’t call out to God, we won’t be reconciled to him. How does this apply to mistakes and apologies in marriage?
  7. What are some other roadblocks to making an apology you’ve observed in yourself or others?
  8. What are some things you can do to get better at making apologies?
  9. What do you have to lose by owning up to your mistakes and apologizing? What do you have to gain?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
This content is adapted from When Sorry Isn’t Enough by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas. See the version of this topic.