…another in the series of Gardening Tips for Couples

It is highly likely that in the course of relationships with associates, friends, family members and your significant other you will do or say something or not do or say something that will cause someone hurt.

Reacting to the words and actions of others is normal, natural and necessary when we are involved and invested in a relationship with another, regardless of the nature or structure of that relationship.

For the purpose of this Tip, I want to focus on The Power of Apology for committed couples. That said, everything I am about to offer can be widely used and applied with all different kinds of relationships and with all different kinds of people!

What Is An Apology?

Your apology is an act of loving kindness and is an offering to repair the hurt. It does not speak directly to the perceived offense.

The very act of apologizing must be an integral part of all committed relationships regardless of the nature of the relationship.

It is not about not having one’s feelings hurt!

It is about both partners offering and receiving apologies when a hurt or an offense is experienced and reported by one of them.

When to Apologize

If your Honey is hurt or offended by something you said or didn’t say, or did or didn’t do, his or her upset is not an indictment of you. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It doesn’t even mean you did something bad or wrong.

In fact, it may not mean anything at all about you. It is definitely a message about your partner. And an apology is in order.

Please know that your partner’s hurt or upset is a message to you about him or her. The message is: What you did or said by commission or omission didn’t land right. In committed relationships that are loving, mutually respectful and based on good will and good intention, it is important that both partners be alert as to how your words and actions affect and impact one another.

As a loving partner it matters to you if your partner’s feelings are hurt. Defensiveness, shifting the blame, being disparaging, trying to make light of the hurt or offense is unkind and disrespectful. If you engage in any of that adolescent behavior, stop it!

How To Apologize

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Remind yourself that the person who is hurt is not the enemy.
  • Remind yourself that the person who is hurt is a person you cherish and value and whom you wouldn’t hurt for anything in the world.
  • Remind yourself that a very common response to someone telling us that they have been hurt by us is to get angry!
  • Keep breathing!

Now repeat after me…

  • I am sorry that what I said (or didn’t say) or what I did (or didn’t do) made you feel like I don’t care about you.
  • It was not my intention to say or do anything that would upset you or cause you hurt.
  • What can I do or say right now to repair the hurt in your heart?
  • I care about you. It matters to me that you are hurt. I want to make the hurt better.

Then take another deep breath and be quiet. Allow him or her time to let your words sink in and start to soothe the hurt; salve the wounded heart.

How To Receive An Apology

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Remind yourself that the person who hurt you is not the enemy.
  • Remind yourself that the person who hurt you is a person you cherish and value and you know she or he wouldn’t hurt you for anything in the world.
  • Remind yourself that a very common response to telling someone that they hurt you is for them to get mad at you.
  • Keep breathing!

Now repeat after me…

  • I believe that she or he is sorry that what she or he said (or didn’t say) or what she or he did (or didn’t do) that made me feel like she or he doesn’t care about me.
  • I believe that it was not his or her intention to say or do anything that would upset me or cause me hurt.
  • I choose to take in my partner’s acknowledgement that something happened that hurt me.
  • I choose to allow this apology to begin to repair my hurt feelings.
  • I choose to allow this apology to soften my heart, calm my upset and cool my anger.
  • I choose to allow this apology to soothe the wound in my heart now.

Then take another deep breath and be quiet. Allow yourself to begin to be transformed by your knowing that you are loved, respected and valued. Allow the power of apology to start the healing process.

Apologies Do Not Necessarily Resolve Issues

Sometime after you and your partner have re-established the emotional status quo between you, schedule a time to sit down and problem solve whatever the content was of the event that was hurtful or upsetting.

Do not attempt to do this as long as one of you is feeling hurt or upset. Heal the hurt first.

Relationships have their own rhyme and rhythm. One essential skill to learn and use frequently is the art and act of apologizing and accepting an apology.

No one is perfect and no relationship is without its ups and downs. The art and the act of offering and receiving apologies is a skill well worth learning, practicing and using with each other often.

I invite you to allow these new ways to extend yourself to your partner and receive your partner and understand that you will be tending the rich soil in which love, intimacy and trust grow more and more deeply every day.

So until next time, Happy Gardening!

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

 

Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC
www.DrJackieBlack.com ~ DrJackie@DrJackieBlack.com

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