WhatToSayWhen_Slide1

When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Making Things Right with Those You Love
#1 New York Times bestselling author Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas have teamed up to deliver this groundbreaking study of how we give and receive apologies. Now Available! »

rainbow_grand_canyon_personal_update_sorry

Personal Update

I’m taking a summer sabbatical with my family. We are going to be touring the north rim of the Grand Canyon and a few other national parks. I’m grateful for our nation that has preserved these treasures and I can’t wait to see them for the first time. If you would like to arrange for me to speak at your event or do some consulting with your company, please email booking@drjenniferthomas.com. Read More »

WhatToSayWhen_Slide1

When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Making Things Right with Those You Love
#1 New York Times bestselling author Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas have teamed up to deliver this groundbreaking study of how we give and receive apologies. Now Available! »

late

What to Say When He Always Runs Late

 

Scenario:

Kate had the babysitter settled in for the evening with her three kids. There was only one problem. Kate’s husband, Jon, was running late…again. He comes from a family of people known for running late. In fact, his mother is jokingly referred to as “the late Mrs. Brown.” Kate silently fumed while waiting for Jon to get home. She had reminded him to leave work in plenty of time to meet friends for dinner. Their lateness made her feel embarrassed when they were typically the last couple to show up. Would he break another promise to arrive on time? Fifteen minutes later, Jon rushed through the door blaming traffic and saying he was sorry for running late. They jumped into the car and sped off to their event. What to Say: Kate: While we’ve got a few minutes together, I need to talk to you about something that is important to me. When we show up late, it makes me feel embarrassed. Jon: Gosh. I know you think I always run late. But, you are too uptight about being on time. Kate: When we arrive late, I feel like we waste other people’s time. Jon: OK. I didn’t know that you felt that way. I’ll try to leave work earlier next time. Kate: Thank you. This means a lot to me, and I have no problem driving myself if you get stuck at work. Why This Works: By starting the conversation, Kate avoids giving Jon the dreaded silent treatment. Nobody likes to be in a tension-filled position with someone who says through clenched teeth that everything is “just fine.” Kate puts Jon on notice that he should arrive when he agrees to arrive. And she offers to drive herself without him if he’s late in the future. What Doesn’t Work: Nagging. No one likes to be nagged and no one really wants to be a nag. Read More »

WhatToSayWhen_Slide1

When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Making Things Right with Those You Love
#1 New York Times bestselling author Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas have teamed up to deliver this groundbreaking study of how we give and receive apologies. Now Available! »

forgiveness_i'm_sorry

3 Things Forgiveness Can Never Do

Forgiveness Does Not Heal Everything. We often have the mistaken idea that forgiveness will wipe the slate clean. Let me share three things that forgiveness does not do. (1) Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrongdoing. The father who abandons his children may repent ten years later, but forgiveness does not restore the ten years of void.

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What to Say When Your Wife Is Urging You To Show More Ambition

Scenario: Scott’s wife is at it again. She fussed at him for not pushing more for a promotion at work. Scott doesn’t know what to say. As usual, he feels a mixture of guilt (not very strong) and annoyance (growing by the minute). For their entire 15-year marriage, Jane has pestered him to work harder and be a better provider. Scott wonders if she even notices his strengths, such as he goes to work without fail, he treats Jane with kindness, he buys gifts for her when he goes on business trips, and he likes washing her car for her without being asked. What to Say: Scott: Sweetheart, you know you are the love of my life. I want to please you in every way. However, I am tired of you pushing me to make more of myself in the workplace.  When you say that you want me to be a more successful businessman, I shrink to about two inches tall.   Read More »

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Five Common Non-Apologies You Shouldn’t Fall For and Why Men Rarely Apologize

According to new research from Canadian psychologists, people apologize about four times a week. But, on average, they offer up these apologies much more often to strangers (22% of the time) than to romantic partners (11%) or family members (7%). The only folks we apologize to more? Friends (46%). Read More »

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7 Simple Steps For Teaching Kids How to Apologize and Actually Mean It

If adults need to apologize (And who would argue that?), then the art of apology needs to be learned in childhood. Here are the steps we recommend for parents, grandparents, and teachers:

  1. Help kids to accept responsibility for their own behavior. Our adult patterns of sweeping issues under the rug and shifting blame can often be traced all the way back to childhood habits. My own two-year old son passed gas and then blamed it on his diaper, saying, “My diaper burped!”
  2. Teach toddlers that their actions affect others. When you pull our pet’s tail, you hurt him.  When you rub our cat’s whiskers, he purrs.
Read More »
Image credit  _couple_talking_under_lights

What to Say When Sorry Isn’t Enough

My Advice: Here are a few phrases you could try to “pull for” more of what you’d like to hear in an apology (by category below).  You could say something like this:  “Thank you for what you’ve offered me by way of an apology.  It would help me even more if I could hear more about”: § Expressing Regret: “I am sorry” How my feelings were hurt, how much worry, trouble, inconvenience I experienced. How you would have felt if you were in my shoes. § Accepting Responsibility: “I was wrong”   Read More »

man typing email what to say

What to Say When… You Would Give Anything to Retract an Email Message

We’ve all been there. You draft a private email message but accidentally send it to the whole group. Your mind races as you recall what you said and how it will be received by friends or coworkers who you were not supposed to have copied on the message. You might try to retract or recall the email message but you have no success. When you are the sender of an unintended email message, what should you say? Read More »

family gary chapman_radio

Insider Scoop: My Focus on the Family Interview with Dr. Gary Chapman

A while back, Gary Chapman and I traveled to Colorado Springs for a taping of their daily broadcast. Here are some of my behind the scenes memories: During the session, the interviewers asked some great questions about the five languages of apology. Gary and I have developed a rapport for interviews like this. Generally, we take turns giving the answers. If we have something to add to the other’s answer, we lift a finger or point to ourselves. When we are asked about teaching kids to apologize, Gary usually points to me and I step in to answer because I have young kids. When theological questions pop up, I point to Gary because he’s a pastor. Read More »