A complete and genuine apology isn’t just saying “I’m sorry“.
There are five basic languages of apology: Expressing Regret, Accepting Responsibility, Making Restitution, Genuinely Repenting, and Requesting Forgiveness. To restore a relationship and sustain it, you need to deliver an apology when it’s due, and needed, in a way the other person recognises — and accepts — as an apology.
Some people don’t want to hear how sorry you are when you blow it; or have you explain the regret you feel – they want to know if you are making plans to right that wrong. “To make an effort to love ten times more to make up for the wrong you did is better than saying you’re sorry ten times”, and so says my spouse whose apology language is Making Restitution. Others like me, would be contented if you’d just tell me you regret hurting me and promise to never do it again. To hear the other person express regret, is my apology language.
It’s really interesting to find out how we’d like to be apologised to. When the kids are older, I’ll have them sit through the Online Assessment for their Apology Language Profile. I’m gonna be making mistakes as their fussy, neurotic mother along the way, and it’s important that I learn this so we can grow in this beautiful parent-child relationship together.