5 Languages of Apology

Today, Jennifer and I got to go hear Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, speak at a Pastor’s Forum sponsored by the Center for Individual Family Therapy. Jennifer and I greatly benefited from Dr. Chapman’s writing early in our marriage and The 5 Love Languages is something that I have continued to teach and use as a tool in helping couples experience and express love.

Today, Dr. Chapman spoke about Two Essentials for Successful Marriage, which he stated are: 1) expressing love and appreciation;  and 2) dealing effectively with our failures. In the first half of his message he talked about the 5 love languages. But in the later half, he introduced the 5 languages of an apology, we he expressed we need to know in order to deal effectively with our failures in the context of marriage. In unpacking this concept, Chapman talked about how each person has different ideas about what an apology is and how to give an apology! In a nutshell, he expressed that just as people have a love language, people also have an apology language.

Chapman suggests that any of these apologies, which are listed below, could stand on their own, if they are spoken in the right language of the hearer. And while that’s probably true, I personally think that all five languages of an apology need to be part of the anatomy of a complete and genuine apology, especially if the offense is great.

Here are the 5 languages of an apology. Have a look and tell me what you think. What do you want to hear when someone apologizes to you?

  1. Express Regret: Say, “I’m sorry that I…(be specific)”
  2. Accept Responsibility: Say, “I was wrong! I shouldn’t have done that!”
  3. Make Restitution: Ask, “What can I do to make this right?”
  4. Genuinely Repent: Say, “I don’t want this to keep happening!”
  5. Request Forgiveness: Ask, “Will you please forgive me?”

You can also discover your love language by taking this free online assessment.

3 Responses to 5 Languages of Apology
  1. Snookie Reply

    Wow amazing how God works…this hit home as it was something that Denny and I were talking about earlier today. We were talking about appreciating each other and how after being married for so long sometimes you just take each other for granted. I also love the 5 languages of apology…I will share them with Denny when he gets home from work. Thank you Bryan for taking the time to do this, I have enjoyed reading them.

  2. Shawn black Reply

    Very good Bryan. I think the hardest is #2 taking responsibility and owning it. Really looking inside yourself as to why you did what you did and understanding how your behavior effected your spouse. Having empathy and compassion and being honest in your apology. Most important, learning the lessons God is teaching you through your spouse.
    Thank you for sharing these.

    • Bryan Hardwick Reply

      Good point Shawn! Empathy is so vitally important as it allows couples to enter into a deeper level of intimacy by experiencing connectedness, love, compassion and healing.

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