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Basic rules of apology

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Charles Ighele

My wife and I recently came up with a book titled, HOW TO APOLOGIZE PROPERLY TO YOUR SPOUSE. In this write up, I like to share with you, my dear reader some rules of apology that we know about.

Rule 1. Ability to Forgive
I have come across people in the course of my life’s journey who are living in un-forgiveness. Some of such people make it very clear that they will never forgive due to the depth of hurts or pains inflicted on them by those they think offended them. There are others who say words like ‘I have forgiven him. I have no grudge against him,’ but when they hear about that person or see the person, their body chemistry changes. It’s like a part of their peace, joy and happiness leaks away.

These two examples above are signs that people like these have not yet acquired the God-given ability to forgive with all their spirit, mind and body. Before going into marriage or if already in marriage, couples should deeply and widely search their hearts if they truly love and forgive people (who they think hurt them in the past) the way God wants them to be loved. To forgive is a decision, which will be often made throughout your life time. In trying to acquire the ability to forgive, be aware of the fact that God does not see the people who hurt you and have become your so-called enemies the way you see them. They may have erred, but they remain His children.

In Matthew 18:21 when Peter wanted to know from Jesus and asked him ‘Lord how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?’ Jesus’ answer in verse 22 was, ‘Not seven times… but seventy times seven’.

You may wonder what forgiveness has to do with an apology. A lot I will say. It is not possible to accept an apology from the bottom of your heart if you do not have the ability to forgive and easily forgive. It is not possible for you to apologize from the bottom of your heart if you do not have the ability to be humble, repent and give out forgiveness.

Therefore, before going into marriage and those already in marriage, the foundational rule of apology is the acquisition of the ability to forgive.
Rule 2. No Excuse Please!

Some time ago, a woman was trying to apologize to her husband after a very heated argument. The woman decided to apologize after she realized that she was wrong. Her apology was something like this ‘I am sorry for what I did but it was how you said what you said that provoked me. I would not have shouted at you if you had not shouted at me. I am sorry’. That is no apology at all. That woman was just giving excuses. Excuses and apologies cannot peacefully lie on the same bed for a long time.

Giving excuses shows that the person has not repented fully and is still trying to justify his/her actions. James 5:16 says, ‘confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another that you may be healed…’ It is impossible for people who have not repented to confess their ‘faults one to another’. Simply say ‘I am wrong. I am very sorry. I did not behave well at all, forgive me’. Do not say ‘I am sorry, but the reason I did it was because you provoked me. You caused it…’ Decide today with your intended spouse or with your spouse not to give excuses while apologizing. Agree to apologize to each other wholly and truly. Love you.


In this article:
Charles Ighele
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