The Art of Saying Sorry

Family Group

The Art of Saying Sorry

Mistakes. We make them simply because we are human and are not immune to doing or saying something wrong when overwhelmed by our emotions. In a marriage where a couple is especially close and there are countless decisions to be made, emotions can get intense and disagreements are almost unavoidable. Sometimes, in a heat of anger, we say or do things to our spouse that we immediately regret. We can’t turn back time and undo the hurt we’ve caused but we can make a conscious effort to say “sorry” when we mess up.

It is important for couples to know that there is a need to make amends and ask for forgiveness as it helps with the rebuilding of trust and paves the way for reconciliation. But how can we offer an effective apology when the need arises instead of sounding like we’re just saying sorry for the sake of it? TOUCH Family shares how.

Sincerity is key in making an apology. More importantly, you need to ensure that your spouse perceives your apology as a sincere one. Take the time to think through your apology and your choice of words, then sit your spouse down to acknowledge his/her feelings, make your apology, and ask for forgiveness.

Do take responsibility for what you’ve done:
Don’t ignore or avoid the issue, and don’t give excuses.

Do treasure and protect your relationship:
Don’t let pride get in the way and hurt the relationship further. Be sincere and gentle. Use the words, “I’m sorry.”

Do be respectful:
Even if the fault lies with the both of you, don’t demand your spouse to be responsible for his/her part of the blame after you’ve made your apology. Gently share how your spouse’s actions or words made you feel and respectfully suggest how you would prefer him/her to act or respond in the future.


There are five key components of an effective apology:

  1. Expressing regret
  2. Accepting responsibility
  3. Genuine repenting
  4. Making restitution
  5. Requesting forgiveness

Here’s an example of a scenario and an apology comprising the five key components.

The Offended:
“Last night we agreed to meet at 7pm, but you were 30 minutes late. I was frustrated, angry, and anxious. I need you to respect me. It would be helpful if you had texted me when you were running late instead of keeping silent.”

The Offender:
“I am sorry I was late yesterday. (expressing regret) I should have texted you instead of keeping you waiting and anxious. (accepting responsibility) I will do better next time. (genuine repenting) How can I make up to you? (making restitution) Will you please forgive me? (requesting forgiveness)”

The next time a situation calls for an apology, put your relationship first and your pride aside. Remember the handles shared above, say “sorry” the effective way and work towards making amends for a harmonious marriage.

Want to know more about marriage, parenting or any family-related support? Contact us at 6709 8400 or click here to find out more.

TOUCH Integrated Family Group (TIFG) is TOUCH’s newest service group, set up in January 2020. TIFG focuses on Family Resources to help families cope with different stressors along their life course, transition of roles in Family Transitions, Relationships & Growth, and building Family Resilience. 

With TOUCH’s multi-service experience in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children, youth-at-risk and vulnerable families since 1992, TIFG aims to equip families with resources and enable them to build resilience. This is done through an integrated suite of services to support the family as a unit, with emphasis on education, intervention and advocacy.