Beyond “I’m Sorry” in Relationships | CoupleTalk

As our nation deals with the pandemic, many couples find themselves having more anxiety and tension in their marriages. There can be conflict and hurt. Sometimes the fight may be about different strategies of safety precautions related to the virus. One thinks the whole thing is overblown, while the other is truly frightened about getting themselves (and others) sick is inevitable in long-term relationships. However, the way a couple handles those hurts has a big impact on the health and happiness of their relationship. When conflicts arise, if not handled with care, it can also negatively impact their relationships. It’s amazing that one of the most important aspects of a loving relationship – forgiveness – is rarely taught, seldom modeled and hardly given. Some of us have never seen it properly done – either in our family growing up or in our adult lives. 

It is no surprise that a marriage between two imperfect people will result in hurt for each partner from time to time. Forgiveness helps to repair the hurt and reconnect the partners. Forgiveness is a choice that brings freedom both for the forgiver and for the one forgiven. 

How do you react when you feel hurt by something your spouse said or did? Do you strike back because you’ve been hurt first? Or do you ignore it, covering your feelings and hoping things will get better? How do you react when you realize you’ve hurt your spouse? Do you mumble a quick, “Sorry about that” and expect that the matter is settled and the hurt is dealt with? Do you remind your spouse that since they’ve hurt you before, they should quickly forgive and forget? 

But forgiveness sometimes needs repeating. Even after choosing to forgive, the hurtful words or experiences with our spouse come back to our mind. Repeating the internal process of forgiving may be needed. Coupletalk teaches communication tools that help couples move beyond just saying, “ I’m sorry” and to include empathy for each other when apologizing and forgiving. 

Quick exercise: Together, agree on a topic one of you wishes to apologize for. The other partner should be willing to hear their partner’s apology and Listen and Summarize with Empathy. 

Discover ways to repair your relationship when there’s been hurt. Each time we choose to renew that forgiveness of our spouse, we move closer to them and closer to the goal of being like Jesus. Remembering God’s forgiveness for us can give us the grace and freedom to forgive our spouse. 


Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.

Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13 NLT 


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