Like all husbands I have recently done something dumb to upset my wife which has got me thinking of a fantastic blog idea. I am currently studying the Bachelor of NZ Business and have delved into a bit about human physiological behaviour. Although I have a psychology background in my day job, I will discuss some aspects of marriage that can lead to divorce and suggest ways to reduce the damage.
An ineffective apology can be the source of extensive damage in many marriages. In short, most men just don’t know how to apologise. In intimate relationships an effective apology can quickly heal an inadvertent injury. Similarly, an ineffective apology or the complete failure of an apology can cause your nuts to be castrated and end up getting punched repeatedly, in a nutshell this would be a major wound to the relationship.
For the beautiful ladies, apologising is a way of reconnecting with someone whose feelings you have hurt, however inadvertently. When a woman gets feedback that something she has done or failed to do has left another feeling offended or injured, she is usually quick to apologise. A breach in the relationship is avoided and the relationship continues undisturbed. Neither the woman offering nor the woman receiving the apology regard it as unusual but rather see it as a routine aspect of relationships.
Apologies for men are very different and believe me are really challenging. Men tend to view apologies as humiliating and a loss of face. Usually for men, verbal communication is tied up with their concern for the way their status is perceived by others. Men are more conscious of the impact of what they say on how others perceive their power position or lack of power.
So for a man to acknowledge that he has done something wrong often means that he feels diminished in the eyes of those who hear the apology. Thus a woman apologises to maintain healthy relationships and feels no sense of loss. But a man apologises and feels a sense of loss if not humiliation. The result of this difference is that men are reluctant to apologise and in many cases, do not know how to craft a sincere apology.
It is this lack of knowledge I seek to shine a manly light on here. Some women complain that their husbands are unable or unwilling to respond to their wives’ feelings and the husband’s tendency to stonewall when presented with a complaint leaves his wife feeling disconnected and alienated. It appears to the guys in most modern marriages it is the woman who is angry at her mate more often than the reverse. Women express anger at their husband’s sins of commission as well as sins of omission. And the most common sin of omission is his failure to apologise when he has offended. So here is a brief tutorial for the men on how to apologise.
DIRECTIONS FOR MEN:
NECESSARY ELEMENTS OF AN APOLOGY
There are six elements of a proper apology. If you do not want to waste your time you must include all six:
1. Acknowledge the Wrongful Act
You need to begin by saying ” I was wrong and I am sorry.” There are no substitutes for this admission. If you say something dumb like “I am sorry that you think I was wrong,” you might as well cut off your nuts and not bother. There is no getting around it. You were wrong so plead guilty and get on with it, that way you can keep the wife happy and chalk up a win!
2. Acknowledge that You Have Hurt her Feelings
Understand that your wrongful act has hurt her feelings and made her feel disconnected from you. You cannot reconnect without attending to the feelings piece. So you say “I was wrong and I am sorry that I have hurt your feelings”. Once again, you cannot wimp out by fudging and saying ” I am sorry that your feelings are hurt, would you like a bit of lip balm?” You have to connect your wrongful act to her hurt feelings, never try to add a bit of humour as she will take that you are not sincere with your apology.
3. Express Your Remorse
An expression of remorse and regret is the way you demonstrate your ability to feel an appropriate response to her hurt feelings. So you say, “I was wrong and I am sorry that I hurt your feelings and I feel terrible that I have done something that has hurt you.” (It will help here if you actually look remorseful, if you don’t well your gonna get slapped)
4. State Your Intention Not to Repeat
This may be difficult particularly if you are a repeat offender but it is an expression of your acknowledgement of your need to reform. “I know that I am sometimes insensitive to what you need but I am going to try my hardest not to do it again.” If you smirk at this juncture you’re going to have to go back, get slapped into next week, get yelled at and lose your hearing in the process and start all over.
5. Offer to Make Amends
If you don’t know what would help, ask her. “What can I do to make it up to you?” The particular act of contrition may be negotiated but the important thing is to express your willingness to do something by way of compensation. Of course, once you commit to do something you need to do it (trust me, it is a lot of effort but towards the end of the day it is worth it, and at the end of it you will both be smiling) lest you render the entire effort useless.
6. Seek Forgiveness – or pay dearly!
Forgiving is an act that liberates the forgiver from anger so seeking forgiveness is not as self-serving as you may think. A simple “will you forgive me?” will usually suffice but if you want to avoid appearing presumptuous, or if your offense was particularly odious, you might want to first ask “can you forgive me?”
As you get better at it you will feel more comfortable creating those embellishments that mark your apologies with your own stamp of individuality. Master this simple skill and you will find your domestic life ever more peaceful, amazing and blissful.
This blog post was created by a naughty husband who loves his wife. We would love to hear how using these simple steps worked for you by leaving a comment below. Good Luck.