Basic rules of apology
Continued From Last WeekRule 3
Forgive In Advance
This simply means deciding to forgive your partner, even before he/she does anything to offend you. That does not mean you are encouraging him or her to offend you or misbehave in advance. It simply means your heart is prepared to love and forgive.
I remember when our first daughter was going to the university many years ago. My wife and I sat her down and counselled her about this new phase of life and warned her not to mess around with boys or get pregnant. We warned her sternly, but we also told her that in case she got pregnant, we would not withdraw our love from her.
We told her that we would love her and the baby, accept them and encourage her to move on with the original righteous life God ordained for her. This is an example of how to forgive in advance.
I am not stating here that if your spouse wanted to stab you to death and you miraculously escaped, you should stay in the home, saying you’ve forgiven him or her in advance. You have to run for dear life until there is a firm guarantee and very clear evidence that he/she will not attack you AGAIN.
I am also not saying you should handle the matter of forgiving your spouse in advance the way we handled it with our daughter. The scenarios are different.
For example, when some wives tell their husbands that ‘I have forgiven you in advance even if you commit adultery. I have forgiven you in advance even if you cheat on me’.
Some men may take this as a licence to cheat. It’s a decision that can be kept in your heart. You may or may not need to say it out loud to your spouse.
Do Not Use The Word ‘If’
Couples should not apologise like some political apologies. I have read and listened to a lot of political apologies. When many politicians apologise to political opponents and the electorate, they commonly use the word, ‘if’.
For example, ‘If I have offended you, please forgive me’. The word ‘if’ should be seriously avoided, when couples or family members apologise to one another.
The word ‘if’ is conditional. Telling your spouse ‘if I have offended you, forgive me’, ‘If you think I offended you, forgive me’ is telling them that you do not accept full responsibility for the wrong that has been done.
Be humble enough to say ‘I can see that I have offended you. I am very sorry, forgive me. I love you. I don’t like to see you hurting’.
The apology that blooms from a heart of humility heals wounds fast. Agree with your spouse to eliminate conditional apologies from your home. Decide to portray humility through your apology.
Agree To Unfreeze Easily
There was a time my wife and I had a disagreement in our marriage. I was offended and my wife, Carol, quickly said, ‘I am sorry.
Please forgive me.’ After about a minute, Carol asked, ‘Have you forgiven me?’ I answered ‘I am still thawing’ i.e. unfreezing) and both of us burst into laughter. You know when you put raw or cooked food in the freezer, it becomes frozen.
To use that food item, you need to bring it out to thaw or defrost. The point I am making here is that, before going into marriage, learn to accept and absorb your spouse’s apology very quickly without making the offender to apologise endlessly. No need to thaw for a long time. Forgive fast and forgive well. Love you.