Tom Penders, the University of Houston basketball coach, received a technical foul from referees during a game when he dropped to his knees and fell face down due to a heart condition. The refs thought he was protesting a call, so they “T’d” him up. The sad part is that the officials refused to reverse the call even after the coach was given oxygen and taken from the court on a stretcher. Penders later quipped, “It’s a good thing I didn’t die. The other team would have gotten two more free throws and possession.”
The officials just could not admit they were wrong. Is the same true for you? Do you have a difficult time saying you were wrong and seeking forgiveness? Do you have a tough time asking for forgiveness? Let’s start with your wife. Here are 10 ways to ask for forgiveness.
1. Make sure you have uninterrupted quiet time together
This goes hand in hand with taking her feelings seriously. Be gracious, treat the situation with the gravity it demands, give your wife appropriate time and attention, be patient, don’t demand, and demonstrate some sensitivity.
2. Serve her something
Sincerity is best served along with something else. Maybe a refreshing drink or a tasty treat.
3. Try humility
This is directly related to the spirit of service. Pride doesn’t just go before a “fall,” it often announces a “fool.”
4. Be completely honest
“I’m sorry I was a few minutes late for dinner,” doesn’t really fly when the truth is “I was three hours late and I didn’t call.”
5. Never try to even the score
Pointing out your wife’s shortcoming in order to make yourself look better is lose-lose. Every time. Without exception.
6. Don’t minimize the offense
If you plan to downplay the situation, your guilt, or your need for forgiveness… then just smack yourself in the head now and make up the couch in the living room before you talk to your wife – that way you can save both yourself and her some time later.
7. Own responsibility
Nobody is responsible for your behavior other than yourself. No matter how bad your day is. Even if you feel your wife provoked you. We are grown-up, adult men – what we do and how we treat other people is always our choice.
8. Lay out a plan for restitution
Have a plan in mind that addresses the hurt you caused.
9. Demonstrate a change of heart
– “I have already made an appointment with the counselor…”
– “I understand that an apology sounds kind of hollow, so I want you to know that my heart has changed and I’m a better person because I’ve made this mistake…”
– These aren’t just flowers – they’re a small attempt to show how much I love you…”
– “I forgot to meet you for lunch yesterday… But I have a sitter lined up for tonight and dinner reservations…”
10. Don’t just say it – do it
Follow up that change of heart with a demonstrable change in behavior – a change that repeats itself over time. It may take a while to regain trust, or demonstrate your sincerity, so hang in there and make it count in reality. Remember, you’re not doing this to get out of trouble… you’re working on healing the relationship.