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Updated: Aug 19, 2021

My top tips 1 and 2 looked at extending grace towards others and ourselves in order to communicate better within relationships. The next tip on my list of relationship communication affects relationships significantly. Without it, communication is halted and relationships fracture, potentially leading to long-term relationship separation. What is this important communication skill?

The apology. Ah, yes, I hear you say. It is a major answer to relationship problems. It comes from the word sorrow, meaning we are sorrowful for causing pain and distress to others. In Psalm 51, David cries out to God with a repentant heart over his sins of murder, adultery and deception. With heartfelt emotion, he doesn’t plead his case but confesses his sorrow over his sins against God. So true. I tend to think that when we sin, we are hurting the very heart of God. On the other side of the coin, I wonder if David went to Bathsheba and apologised to her? Mm, food for thought isn’t it?

I know that we all feel sorry about unrighteous things committed in our past and if you are like me, you’ve repented to the Lord like David has. But the important thing for our relationships is to communicate to those flesh and blood people we have wronged, saying sorry to them too. God wants us to be reconciled with not only Him but also those we have sinned against.

‘Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.’ Matt. 5:23-24 NKJV

Reconciling involves talking through the problem and then owning our part which includes the words 'I’m sorry'. Without this process, good deeds are nothing if we’ve left a trail of hurting people behind harsh words, anger, bad attitude or …? (Fill in for yourself).

A client has communication issues in her marriage, affecting their relationship. They both find it impossible to apologise to one another because they both see the major fault is with the other. This inability to reconcile and apologise has caused a major fracture in their marriage.

Who do you need to apologise to? It’s time. Ask God for the strength and courage to say the words needed to bring reconciliation and restoration. And when you say sorry, make sure it’s from the heart and mentions whatit is that you are sorry for. For example: those angry words last Tuesday; my bad attitude yesterday; this morning’s discussion and my lack of understanding… Be specific and make it heartfelt. Oh and one more thing – whatever you do don’t defend your bad actions. Adam did that to God – ‘the woman You gave me, made me do it’. Nope! Adam was in charge and he blew it. (see Genesis 3).

So, maybe it’s time to say sorry a few more times but don’t get so carried away that you say it so often that your apology loses its meaning and effectiveness. If there are so many things you need to apologise for then group them together when you say sorry with one big ‘sorry for all the times I have …’

A few more heartfelt apologies, with a few less stormy silences, may lead to a better communication platform to develop that important relationship in your life. As you ask for God’s help and His leading, He will honour your request and come through for you.

Listen to me speak on this and more with Jay and Sam on 96three FM, 8.30am Fridays. or later

Love Peta XO

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