Saying sorry and asking for forgiveness are two very different factors in resolving arguments.

Saying Sorry is Simple

We were in the midst of yet another disagreement. We were both hurt, and we knew it was time to let go of our case and make up. But it’s hard to say sorry. It’s even harder to ask for forgiveness. Actually, it’s a lot harder. Saying “sorry” is good, but it’s not usually enough to fully restore the relationship. “I’m sorry” is an I-centred statement. It’s an expression of my regret, of my sympathy for the person that is hurt. It’s a statement of fact but as such, does not require a response. Saying sorry is relatively easy, because we are not asking for anything, and so we stay in control.

Seeking Forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness is entirely different. When we ask “Would you please forgive me?” we are acknowledging that we are culpable. “Please forgive me” is a profoundly other-centred statement. It puts us in a position of vulnerability – we’ve made a request of the other, and it is their choice as to whether they grant it or not. It takes humility. And it takes a lot of courage. There are no guarantees. But the risk is worth it.

The Rewards

If they say ‘yes’, deep healing and bonding takes place. We move forward stronger than we ever were. But even if they are not ready to forgive, there is a freedom for us, even in the ongoing pain of breached relationship. Acknowledging our mistakes and accepting our weaknesses frees us and matures us. The deeper our awareness of our own limitations, the more capable we become of forgiveness and compassion ourselves. All intimate relationships, marriage especially, will involve misunderstanding and hurt at times. Learn to ask for forgiveness, and you will build your marriage into a stronghold that can weather the storms of life.