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.

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 »

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 »

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.
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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 »

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 »

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 »