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How to apologise when your spouse feels offended

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Charles Ighele

• Focus Your Attention On Your Spouse And Not On Yourself
There is a popular saying that ‘it takes two to tango.’ The word ‘tango’ originated from South America and originally referred to a ballroom energetic dance where two people must be involved. The word ‘tango’ has since assumed other meanings and in this context means that it takes two people to quarrel or to create certain unpleasant situations. The two people involved should, therefore, be ready to accept the blame and take responsibility for the situation they find themselves in. On your part, examine the issue at stake through self-examination.

But you see, I have noticed that couples who enter marriage with the mindset that ‘it takes two to tango’ hardly know how to bring peace after a quarrel. They behave this way because their belief in the philosophy, which says ‘it takes two to tango,’ makes them only focus on where their spouses caused the problem. Instead of focusing on how they may have offended their spouses, they focus on ‘it takes two to tango.’ The proper thing to do when your spouse is highly offended is not to focus on what he/she did wrong, but what you did wrong.

• Focus On The Offended Person
You may be emotionally wounded, but you can discipline your mind to focus on his or her pain at such a time and not on your pain. In fact, do not draw his/her attention to your pain at that moment. When the relationship is restored and the offended party is now at peace, you may share your pains.

The 90% and 10%
If you think that you are right and that you are the one who needs an apology and not your spouse, really think deep and search yourself, there may be an area where you got it wrong. There may be an area where an act of omission or commission from you might have kick-started the quarrel or it may be that you reacted beyond what was necessary. For example, you may have raised your voice. James 5:16 says ‘Confess your faults one to another…’

There is no way you can confess your fault when you only know how to pay attention to the fault of your spouse and do not know how to pay attention to yours.

If your spouse feels offended, listen to what he/she is complaining about. Look at your faults and even if you are only 10% wrong and your spouse who is complaining is 90% wrong, apologise properly for the 10% where you are wrong without FIRST OF ALL drawing the attention of your spouse to where you THINK he/she is wrong. If the matter is quite contentious, you can later draw his or her attention to the 90%, where you think he/she is wrong. You have to be very careful about this 10% and 90% matter.

This is because while you think that your spouse is 90% wrong and you are 10% wrong, your spouse may think that you are 90% wrong and he/she is 10% wrong! What causes pain to a cat may be highly different from what causes pain to the leopard, even though they all belong to the same family. You should, therefore, not be the chief examiner in allotting percentages. The matter at times as this is to focus on the highly wounded, even though you may also be wounded.

I would like to stress the importance of the need for couples to cultivate a sincere habit of saying ‘I am sorry’ before feeling sorry. You may not always feel like apologising but apologise anyway. Remember you are not led by how you feel. Apologise and the feeling will follow. Love you.


In this article:
Bishop Charles Ighele
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