Let's face it, we all make mistakes. It's probably pretty fair to say that we don't like to admit it either. However, an apology is not just an admission of a wrong doing, it's an admission that we understand that we unintentionally caused an upset in our partner's life. It's about communicating that you're not so caught up in yourself that you don't realize the effect you have on your partner.
When the time comes for you to make an apology, use these simple principles to make your amends.
1. Make the apology about them, not you.
How often have you heard an apology start off with an excuse? When you are giving reasons for your behavior you're not showing your partner that you care about their feelings. You're actually communicating that you are worried about yours. Make sure your intent isn't to get the focus off of you.
2. Listen to what your partner is upset about, and then acknowledge it.
It's difficult to listen to negative things being said about ourselves. However, if we hope to bridge the gap, we need to listen in order to understand our partner's point-of-view. Once you know what has caused the upset, be sure to acknowledge that you understand. For example, "I can see how being late made you feel like you're not a priority to me. I'm sorry that it made you upset. I should have called to let you know what was going on."
3. Make amends.
When you've hurt someone's feelings it's important to give a little something extra back. Imagine it's like putting your apology into action. If you've caused an upset, make an effort to do something a little out of the ordinary to make up for it. Cook their favorite dinner, let them pick out what to watch on TV, or share some extra intimate time.
4. Handle the original problem.
If you find you are causing the same upsets with your partner it might be time for an internal look at why you are repeating actions that you know upsets them. Talk it over with your partner and try to come to some sort of compromise or solution to the situation.