We’re heading into a season of human interaction.

The Thanksgiving Weekend – for those in the USA.

Christmas – New Year.

All year long we interact with others, but this time of year the interactions have overarching expectations.  We’re supposed to be having fun, and bonding, and enjoying festivities.

We’re focused on being thankful – in all circumstances. W’e’re immersed in the holiness of the birth of Christ. We’re uniting with loved ones over meticulously prepared meals in thoughtfully decorated homes. We’re traveling. We’re giving and receiving packages purchased (or created) in a mad rush or stolen moments or proactively planned parcels of time.

All these interactions take energy. Expended energy creates tired people.

Tired people make mistakes.

Mistakes create tension.

Tension causes disagreements.

Disagreements begin less-than-positive interactions…

I’m guessing at some point in the next 2 months, you’re going to need to say…

“I’m sorry.”

How do you apologize?  Effectively?

A few weeks ago Robert and I had the pleasure of spending an evening with JT and Jennifer Thomas. They graciously invited us into their home and shared from their hearts some stories of their life.* What was the catalyst for this time together?

Jennifer Thomas is the co-author of “The Five Languages of Apology”.  When I wrote a post about this book on Leadership Couples, Jennifer reached out – and we took the opportunity to connect.

The Five Languages of Apology

This book answers both how to apologize – and why your apology may not be effective.

Gary Chapman (author of “The Five Love Languages”) and Jennifer Thomas wrote this book after years of research. They  present the five fundamental aspects of an apology as:

  1. Expressing Regret. “I am sorry”
  2. Accepting Responsibility. “I was wrong.”
  3. Making Restitution. “What can I do to make it right?”
  4. Genuinely Repenting. “I’ll try not to do that again.”
  5. Requesting Forgiveness. “Will you please forgive me?”

In our conversation together, Jennifer shared that these fundamentals first grew from an interaction she and JT had over an issue. Jennifer apologized, but JT needed to hear more than an “I’m sorry.”  He needed Jennifer to accept responsibility.  He needed to hear the words, “I was wrong”.

The story of how the book progressed from an idea, to a possible article, into research and a co-authored book is found in the introduction. It’s a beautiful illustration of how sharing an idea can grow (after much work) into a powerful gift to benefit many people.

Who would benefit from this book?

The simple answer? Everyone who messes up.

Expressing regret, accepting responsibility, repenting, asking for forgiveness, and making a plan to do better in the future is key to every relationship.  Spouse – parent – child – coworker – neighbor…  

Husbands & Wives.  “There are no healthy marriages without genuine apologies.”   Sharing life with your spouse isn’t always champagne and roses – there are disagreements in a marriage. (Shocking, I know.)  Is your apology accepted by your spouse?  All through this book are illustrations of husbands and wives learning how to effectively apologize.

Parents.  How do you teach your children to apologize? There’s a really great chapter walking parents through the process of teaching their children to:  1. Accept Responsibility for their Actions –  2.  Learn How Their Actions Affect Others – 3. Understand there are Rules in Life – 4. How Apologies Restore Friendships – 5. How to Teach Children the Languages of Apology.  I really like the statement toward the end of this chapter, “Young children do what parents say – older children do what parents do.” This way parents and children can learn the valuable skill of apology – together.

And then there are chapters for employers, employees, those dating, a personal profile inventory, and a group study guide. In the chapter about making restitution, illustrations are given to use your spouses’ love language as part of an apology.

Would you like to read this book?

We have a copy to give away…

Robert and I feel the concepts in this book are so valuable, we want to share it with you. If you’re interested, just leave a comment at the end of this post.  You could even share your thoughts on what makes up an effective apology…

Next week – on Monday, November 26th – I’ll announce who won a copy of “The Five Languages of Apology”!  (Then I’ll get Robert to mail it to you, ’cause he’s good at those “follow-through” things.)

 *Robert is going to write a post about our time with Jennifer and JT Thomas.  We’ll give another copy of this book away then.  I’ll keep you posted so you have another chance to receive a free copy.

Don’t forget – leave a comment… 🙂


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