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How to Say Sorry to the One You Love

Updated on March 20, 2017
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Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.

Have you done something you regret? Did you say something that upset your wife? Do you need to apologize to your husband? Here are some ways to say sorry when you've made a mistake and are seeking forgiveness.

Being able to say sorry to someone you love may not always be easy, but it is important if you want to have a long, happy and healthy relationship.
Being able to say sorry to someone you love may not always be easy, but it is important if you want to have a long, happy and healthy relationship.

If you've been married or in a serious relationship for any length of time, you already know that there is no such thing as a perfect partnership. Everyone stumbles. Men and women make blunders. Making mistakes is part of what makes us human. There comes a time in every relationship when knowing how to say sorry will make all the difference in the world.

Have you ever done something like this to upset your spouse:

  • Forgot an important date such as an anniversary or birthday
  • Behaved like a child when you didn’t get your way
  • Spent too much time at work
  • Made a bad financial decision that affected the two of you negatively
  • Forgot to share an important piece of information with your spouse concerning your household
  • Said something hurtful in the middle of an argument
  • Made a joke in front of others that you thought was funny, but then you realized you embarrassed your spouse
  • Shared a private secret with someone else that your spouse had trusted you to keep?

These are just a few of the reasons why a husband or wife might need to say sorry to their spouse. Whatever mistake you made, knowing how to say sorry with sincerity is the first step in repairing your relationship and getting things back on track.

Obviously some mistakes are bigger than others (i.e.; infidelity, physical and emotional abuse) and can’t be easily forgiven, no matter how much you want to say sorry. But on those other occasions when you messed up unintentionally, saying you're sorry should always be done in a kind and thoughtful way. Here are some tips on how to say sorry to your wife or husband.

Learning how to say sorry is one of the social skills children learn in the sandbox. So why is it so hard to say sorry to someone you love when you're a grown-up?
Learning how to say sorry is one of the social skills children learn in the sandbox. So why is it so hard to say sorry to someone you love when you're a grown-up?
Are you in the doghouse because of something you said or did to your spouse? Here are some tips on how to say sorry to someone you've hurt.
Are you in the doghouse because of something you said or did to your spouse? Here are some tips on how to say sorry to someone you've hurt.

Follow these suggestions for how to say sorry in order to make sure that your apology is sincere and heartfelt.

  • Avoid the use of the word but in your apology.
  • Don't take someone's forgiveness for granted. Ask, but don't demand, that you be forgiven for your mistake.
  • Don't blame your spouse for how you behaved. Take responsibility for the things that you said and did that were hurtful.
  • Express your gratitude for your partner's patience.
  • Choose words that are soft, gentle, and sincere. Use words and phrases that sound like words you would actually use. Don't try to be someone else when you apologize for your blunder. Being fake is the worst way to say sorry!
  • If you are writing a note to say sorry to your wife or husband, put some thought into your writing materials. A handwritten card is far more personal and sincere than a message sent by text or email.
  • If you feel the need to apologize right away but can't reach your loved one, a voice-mail message is better than a text message.
  • Don't invalidate or dismiss your partner's feelings with phrases such as "If you were offended" or "If I hurt your feelings." Sometimes you need to apologize long before your partner has expressed hurt or regret. Always apologize as soon as you know, in your heart, that what you said or did was wrong.
  • Don't bring out a scorecard of past hurts and emotional transgressions.
  • Let go of your expectations for how your spouse will react when you say you are sorry. He or she may need time to let your apology sink in. Forgiveness may not be granted right away. You can't control how your wife or husband will react to your apology. Give your partner the space he or she needs to process what happened. No matter which way you say sorry to your spouse, how she reacts is up to her.

Waiting too long to say sorry might drive you and your spouse further apart. Even if you don't know how to say sorry right now, don't wait too long to apologize.
Waiting too long to say sorry might drive you and your spouse further apart. Even if you don't know how to say sorry right now, don't wait too long to apologize.

How do you say "I'm Sorry" in other languages?

Language
Phrase
French
Je suis désolé.
Spanish
Lo siento.
Italian
Mi dispiace.
Dutch
Het spijt me.
German
Es tut mir leid.
Portuguese
Desculpe-me.
Swedish
Jag beklagar.
Source: Babylon.com

In spite of these tips for how to apologize to someone you love, you may still have trouble finding the best way to express your remorse. Whether you choose to write your apology in a card or letter, or you decide that saying sorry face to face is the best way to show your spouse you regret your actions, you may need help getting started.

Here are some suggestions for how to convey your regret for something you said or did. They were inspired by the book Thinking of You, Card Greetings for Every Occasion, by Katie Hewat. Don't just copy these phrases word for word though. Find a way to add your own thoughts and feelings to the expressions. Put your own voice into the phrases so that your loved one will be able to hear your sincerity.

~~~~~~~

I’m so very sorry for all the things I didn’t say and do when you really needed me to be there for you. Please forgive me.

~~~~~~~

I am deeply sorry that I hurt you. I know these words alone can’t make things right. I want you to know how much I regret what I did to make you sad. I love you with all my heart. I will do whatever I can to make it up to you.

~~~~~~~~

I don’t expect to be forgiven for what I’ve done. I just want you to know that you didn’t deserve what happened between us. I am really sorry.

~~~~~~~~

I deeply regret that I couldn’t be there for you on [occasion]. Even though you've been so patient and understanding, I wish more than anything that I could have been with you to share that important moment. I’ll make it up to you in any way I can.

~~~~~~~~

I never want to lose sight of what’s truly important ever again. I’m so sorry I let you down.

~~~~~~~~

I want to tell you how sorry I am. I see now that I was wrong and I treated you unfairly. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the pain that I've caused you.

~~~~~~~~

I’m so sorry that we got into a fight the last time we were together. Please believe me when I say that I didn’t mean the hurtful things that I said. Your love and respect means so much to me. I hope you can forgive me.

~~~~~~~~~

I’m very sorry for the pain and embarrassment I caused you. You are a devoted partner and you didn’t deserve my thoughtless [words/actions]. I hope you can forgive me and give me a chance to make things better between us.

~~~~~~~~~

I can see it in your eyes that I have caused you pain. I wish there was something I could do to take back the hurtful things I said. All I have to give you is my deepest apology for what I have done.

~~~~~~~~~

It was foolish of me to take you for granted. I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

~~~~~~~~~

Please accept my deepest apologies for the way I behaved [when]. I am truly sorry for letting you down.

~~~~~~~~~

Sometimes expressing yourself in a letter of apology is the best way to start making amends with your spouse.
Sometimes expressing yourself in a letter of apology is the best way to start making amends with your spouse.

One of the most important things to remember when apologizing to your husband or wife is that you aren’t just taking responsibility for what you did, you are also promising not to not make the same mistake again.

When you've made a mistake, it's natural to want to say sorry with words, whether written or spoken. But sometimes the thought of giving a gift or token of your love to your spouse feels like the right thing to do to start making amends.

Here are some gift ideas to help soften the blow after you messed up:

  • A gift certificate for a relaxing spa treatment and a note acknowledging her need for a bit of alone time to refresh her spirit
  • A personalized MP3 file or CD music mix with songs that are reminiscent of happy times between the two of you
  • A gourmet dessert cake with a one of a kind greeting written in icing
  • Flowers delivered to her workplace to brighten her day
  • Small humorous gifts that will put a smile on your spouse's face
  • Light and humorous homemade coupons redeemable for simple pleasures and little indulgences: a relaxing foot rub, a handyman project done around the house, an offer to tackle an unpleasant household chore.

These gift ideas may ease some of the pain you've caused your spouse, but don’t rely on money or fancy gifts alone. The presents shouldn't be given as bribes in exchange for immediate forgiveness. The offerings are meant to help your aggrieved spouse feel less stressed and more relaxed, so that he or she can come to terms with what happened and process your apology with an open mind.

Make sure that when you say sorry to your loved one, you find a way to show your partner, through words and actions, that you’ve taken sincere steps to make sure you won’t mess up again.

(Image Credits: Pixabay.com)

Video: Tips on How to Say Sorry to Your Wife or Husband

One of the best things about saying sorry to the one you love is the first warm, loving hug you share after you've apologized and been forgiven.
One of the best things about saying sorry to the one you love is the first warm, loving hug you share after you've apologized and been forgiven.

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  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

    Excellent hub and it is so essential in all relationships to tell someone you are sorry and be sincere about it! I have been married since a very young age, and realize just how important it is to say sorry so as to no resentments building up over the years.

    Up and more and sharing.

    Blessings,

    Faith Reaper