When I got married, I had no idea how much I’d need to learn about resolving conflict. All married couples experience conflict. But if we’re actually going to face it, it will require apologizing. Do you know how to apologize to your wife? Some say “your apology needs to be louder than the wrong you did.”
I’ve had to apologize a lot over three decades of marriage. Just like speaking your wife’s love language (as outlined by Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages) is vital, it’s also important to make up with your wife in a way that speaks to her. Here are 5 ways to make it up to her when you’ve done something wrong.
1. Words of Affirmation
The lawyer in me enjoys winning a good debate, but as a husband, I know better. Marriage is better when we don’t try to win arguments. When we get into an argument, I’ve had to ask myself which is more important: our relationship or winning? Susan appreciates words of affirmation. So I can try to apologize in the other love languages and while she’ll notice, she won’t feel loved quite like she will when I give her a compliment or encouragement.
If words of affirmation is your wife’s love language, you can make up with her after messing up by calling or texting encouraging words at a different time than you normally would. If you normally call or text on your way home from work, text her before lunch and say, “I hope your day’s going well. I look forward to our evening together.” Or, without any context, express your appreciation for something she’s done recently. Tell her how she makes your life better. Be specific and sprinkle in words of affirmation at the right time.
Let’s say your wife’s love language is acts of service. If you’ve wondered how to apologize to her, you might try doing small acts of service that aren’t usually yours to do—maybe that’s making the bed or cooking dinner. If your kids are younger, consider surprising your wife by offering to take the kids out of the house for an evening so she can have some much-needed quiet time. But keep the long game in mind. She’ll see right through these acts if they only last until you “make up” with her. Consider how you can make these acts your new lifestyle.
Gifts have meant more to Susan when they include the element of surprise, rather than on birthdays or holidays. It can even be a small or inexpensive gift. When you give her a gift when she least expects it, it’ll mean more. For the wife who appreciates gifts, send flowers with a handwritten note of apology. Timing-wise, use the element of surprise to apologize.
4. Physical Touch
Physical touch after you’ve blown it can be tricky. Your wife probably doesn’t want to be touched after you’ve done something wrong. But if some time has passed, you might ease into physical touch with a gentle touch on the shoulder or a hug. Resist the urge to be sly and get more from it—no ulterior motives. Your wife will see through that and she’d much rather receive a sincere apology.
5. Quality Time
The last year or so has been a season of quantity and quality time in our marriage. But we’ve grown a bit complacent in our time together. I’ve been known to deem it date night just for Susan to wind up with the chore of planning the whole date. As a result, date night isn’t as fun for her as it is for me in most cases.
Maybe your wife enjoys quality time. Consider how you might make up with her by planning a creative date night from start to finish. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top creative, but be sure to take care of all of the planning. That means plan everything from securing a sitter, to scheduling the date and time, and making any other special arrangements.
What’s the most important thing you’ve ever learned about how to apologize to your wife? Share in a comment below.