Apologies are so uncomfortable to me—giving them, receiving them, and being around them, make me so uneasy. I guess it is because words mean very little to me. Actions speak the loudest to me if someone really wants me to know they are sorry for something that happened. I often feel like people are very good at saying sorry but not very good at changing, or at least having lasting, meaningful change. That takes a great deal more work!

When I got married this was an interesting issue to navigate. My husband is excellent at apologies. He is sincere, contrite, and really wants to know how he has hurt someone. The idea of thinking he wronged someone is not something he enjoys. He wants to apologize until he feels that person fully understands he is sorry.

Now, put those two together and you’ve got a very annoyed wife. Who gets annoyed at their spouse for apologizing? Me! Crazy, right?

Of course, we did figure out how to navigate this with good conversations, compromises, and learning to accept one another’s preferences. It helped that we knew each other’s love languages, as well as apology languages. The more we can understand one another, why we do what we do, and how we each perceive what we hear when we talk to each other, are all incredibly helpful in our marriage.

In our premarital counseling, we discussed our love languages and how we could best receive love from one another. My love language is acts of service and my husband's is quality time. Early in our relationship, we had to learn to speak one another’s languages, as well as receive that language from one another. I had to learn that he wanted me to spend time focused on him, and he had to learn that when I served him, that I was showing love too.

Just like we had to learn love languages, we had to learn apology languages. Ruptures happen in all healthy relationships. We are all sinful people in need of grace. Having this information helped us know how best to repair after those ruptures occurred and how best to reconnect with one another.

As uncomfortable as I find apologies, I do know they are necessary. I’ve even become better at saying I am sorry and am not as uncomfortable as I once was when someone says it to me. But I was only able to grow in this area after I recognized it was a challenge and decided to change.

I encourage each of you, especially as we think a lot about our relationships in the month of February, to take this opportunity to check in with your spouse and learn something new about them. Take the time to sit down together and take the Love Language and Apology Language quizzes. Discuss your answers and learn to speak each other’s language too!

Kate Tedeton