How do you say you're sorry?

When Stephanie and I were trying to move through our crisis, one of the barriers we had to work though was how to make amends. It probably comes as no surprise, but there was no way I could get her to believe me when I told her I was sorry.

I’d say, “Honey I am so sorry,” and then she’d say, “Yeah you’re sorry alright,” or, “you’re just sorry you got caught,” or “you’re just sorry about what this is going to cost you.” I thought it ridiculous for us to be arguing over whether or not I was sorry because in my heart I knew I regretted everything I had done.

Later though, I figured out she was right. What I feared most was the loss of my marriage, which meant my primary concern was about what my actions might cost me, which meant I was still 100% self-centered. I later leaned that substituting the word “wrong” for “sorry” really helped. She never agreed when I said I was “sorry,” but she never disagreed a single time when I said I was “wrong.” Accepting responsibility for my actions rather than being sorry for them really helped, but it still didn’t provide Stephanie what she needed to feel my remorse for my actions.

I’ve since leaned that when I wound another it’s not about being sorry (which is self centered), rather it’s about grief. I had to learn how to grieve over what my actions cost my mate and others as well as grieve over what my actions cost God.

I also discovered how to express myself in a way that allowed Stephanie to hear me. The good news is my lack of perfection has given me over 30 years of practice and I think I’m starting to get pretty good at it.

I’ve created a short video to help those would like to learn how to make amends. Watch it and be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Will this help you?

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Good to learn "HURT". It definitely tell what a hurt spouse need to receive the other mate's true grief on what he did.

Was this intended for the

Was this intended for the Harboring Hope group as something to share with our spouse who hurt us? I feel uncomfortable being the hurt spouse and telling my spouse how to apologize to me. Maybe you meant to send this to the Hope for Healing group?


This is good for EVERYONE to learn. God knows, I'm not perfect and need to learn how to handle things properly when I hurt someone, because I am completley capable of inflicting pain as well as my husband. Just because it may 'feel good' to hurt back, it doesn't make it right and I have to own up to my actions as well. Thanks for this good counsel!


Great piece of advice. I appreciate how much I am learning and understanding what it is I actually need. When you are the hurt spouse, you know you need actions not just words but you are not sure what actions will necessarily work to help your heal. This is completely on the money and incredibly helpful. Thank you.