Languages of Apology

“O Lord”, I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”  (Psalm 41 v 4)

  • Apology language #1 is expressing regret. Examples are “I’m sorry” or “I feel badly about what I did.”
  • Apology language #2 is accepting responsibility. “I was wrong” or “It was my fault.”
  • Apology language #3 is making restitution. “What can I do to make it right?”
  • Apology language #4 is genuinely repenting. “I don’t want to continue hurting you. I know that it’s wrong, and I don’t want it to happen again.”
  • Apology language #5 is requesting forgiveness. “Will you please forgive me?” or “I value our relationship; I hope you will forgive me.”

Out of these five, your spouse likely has a primary apology language. One of these is more important to him/her than the other four. To give a successful apology, you must learn to speak the apology language of your spouse. You may discover your primary apology language by the way you confess your sins to God. Listen to the words you typically use as you confess and ask forgiveness; they will give you clues.

Fortunately, the Lord knows our heart and doesn’t depend on our words to decide whether we’re sincere!


Father, thank you for making people so different. Please help me to understand my spouse and figure out what is most important to him/her in an apology. Thank you for your constant forgiveness.