Have you ever sat in a quiet room with your partner knowing you hurt their feelings, wishing you could reconnect and the relationship could go back to normal, but feeling helpless as to how to go about it?
It can certainly feel lonely when your partner is hurt and you’re sorry in your heart but you don’t know how to reach out, communicate and reconcile without you being shut down or the situation escalating.
Here are 7 simple steps you can follow to reconcile peacefully and resume your normal relationship as much as possible.
Step 1: Apologize sincerely
If you’re reading this, it’s because you acknowledge that the fault lies majorly with you, so start the conversation with “I’m sorry, I was wrong….”. That should literally be the first sentence out of your mouth. While you can go on explaining what led to the offense, do not try to justify it, focus on expressing your true remorse and repentance. And of course, you should be the initiator of this conversation.
Step 2 : Allow your partner express their displeasure.
Depending on your partner’s temperament, the severity of the offense (based on your partner’s perspective) and the sincerity of your apology, you may get a minimal or massive expression of displeasure. Whichever it is, allow it and don’t react negatively to it.
Do not try to shut them up quickly or get them to gloss over it or expect them to deal with it without giving expression to the pain you caused.
Make yourself available to listen patiently. Give 100% attention while maintaining a remorseful attitude. Understand that releasing the pent up anger or hurt inside may be the first step to genuinely forgiving you.
Step 3: Apologize again and again if necessary.
Your ego may be your greatest enemy in seeking and achieving reconciliation, so let it go. You cannot claim that since you’ve apologized once, the hurt should automatically disappear and the wrong should be forgotten.
If you truly want your partner to heal, apologize again if necessary. “I know you’re still hurting and I’m really sorry” is much better than “I already told you I’m sorry”.
Step 4: Get clear on the change required.
What can l do to make things better?
What should l do differently next time?
How can l win back your trust?
These are questions you can ask to show that the relationship is important to you and you don’t want to hurt them again. Don’t assume you know the answers to these questions, ask so you can be sure of what your partner really needs from you.
Step 5: Be intentional about the change required.
You must have heard the statement “no one likes a repeat offender”, it is absolutely true. There is nothing more insulting to your partner than apologizing for something and then doing it again. So be practical and intentional about ensuring you don’t repeat the offense.
Step 6: Give them time to heal.
Depending on the severity of the offense and maybe the maturity of your partner, it may take a little while or longer to heal and get back to relating as usual. Don’t try to rush the process or demand reconciliation.
Just stay faithfully loving, showing up for them, being available to listen/talk while patiently waiting for them to heal.
Step 7: Pray over their emotions.
To err is human, to forgive is divine. And your partner needs to forgive you not just for you or for the relationship but much more for their own emotional, mental and spiritual health. Make that a priority in prayer.
Ask God to heal the hurt you caused and ease the pain. Ask God to help them forgive you. Ask God to fill their heart with His love. Ask God to help them reconcile with you.
Whether you think the offense is little or big, use as many of these steps as you need, to seek forgiveness and reconciliation in your relationship.
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With Christ’s love,