This week the world is a little more aware of relationships. Whether we’re sending chocolates to a secret crush, buying flowers for a spouse, baking cookies for our co-workers, filling out Valentines for all the kids in the class, or sending a card to our grandmother…love is in the air.
The reality of love relationships – whether romantic, platonic, or familial—is that the closer we are to one another, the greater the chance that we hurt one another. My husband and kids have been the recipients of a plethora of apologies as I speak before I think, seek my comfort over serving them, quickly judge and slowly listen, and on and on. In healthy relationships apologies come quickly and freely, but until recent years I didn’t realize that all apologies aren’t created equal.
On the Valentines edition of the You’re Invited Podcast we featured a man who literally wrote the book on love: Dr. Gary Chapman. You may have heard of his book The Five Love Languages, which has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into 50 languages. Dr. Chapman is a pastor, counselor, author, and a very bright anthropologist who has studied the Word of God and human behavior for several decades. Perhaps one of the most poignant things he talked to us about was the content from his book, When Sorry Isn’t Enough.
This book was co-authored with another counselor who noted that people tend to apologize using five different languages. Failing to speak our loved one’s primary language can leave them feeling as though the apology was not sincere. These five languages are…
- Expressing regret
- Accepting responsibility
- Making restitution
- Genuinely repenting
- Requesting forgiveness
Whew! Isn’t that an eye opener?! Saying “I’m sorry” may do nothing for the person for whom it would be really meaningful to hear “How can I make this right?” Or asking, “Will you please forgive me?” without fully owning our actions may lead our spouse to feel as though we’re not apologizing at all.
Could it be that you’ve been saying “I’m sorry” for years and getting no where in a difficult relationship? Perhaps you’re not communicating in a way that’s meaningful to your spouse, friend, or child.
So when the rose petals droop, all the best flavors are gone from the box of chocolates, and the glitter finally leaves your kid’s backpack, perhaps Dr. Chapman’s apology languages will help kindle the everyday love that sustains the mundane Tuesday. Perhaps the most loving thing we could do this Valentines Day is to apologize quickly and in a way that our loved ones can hear.
Check out the podcast by clicking here!
Discover your language of apology by clicking here.