The Five Languages of Apology

5 languagesThe Five Languages of Apology
By Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas – 2006. Chicago: Northfield Publishing
Reviewed by William C. Rodgers, Better Marriages Board Member, Tampa, FL

Remember Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the popular The Five Love Languages? Well, he has collaborated with Dr. Jennifer Thomas to produce another important book on interpersonal “languages”, The Five Languages of Apology. All of us have a sense of morality – a sense of what is right

All of us have a sense of morality – a sense of what is right and wrong. When we feel wronged by someone, the relationship between us is fractured to some extent. The wrongful act stands as a barrier between us. The wronged person often feels anger and sometimes feels a need for some kind of justice. In order to restore the relationship, a sincere apology is usually needed.

restore the relationship, a sincere apology is usually needed.
But all of us have experienced situations in which we have tried to apologize and were not successful even though we gave what we thought was our best effort. This is probably because we didn’t understand the many aspects of a genuine apology.

In the Apology book, in a way similar to the Love book, five distinct modes of apology are identified:
• Expressing Regret (“I am sorry.”)
• Accepting Responsibility (“I was wrong.”)
• Making Restitution (“What can I do to make it right?”)
• Genuinely Repenting (“I’ll try not to do that again.”)
• Requesting Forgiveness (“Will you please forgive me?”)
The efficacy or relative importance of these five ways of apology varies from person to person. For most, one or two ways speaks more deeply of genuine sincerity than others and is therefore
more likely to be effective in achieving the ultimate goals of apology – forgiveness and reconciliation. As you might guess, problems arise when an apology is given that the other feels is insufficient or insincere or lacking “something.” This is often the case because the apologizer did not use the primary apology language of the other person.

One chapter is devoted to helping you identify your primary apology language; five chapters explain each of the five languages. Each of the languages is explained in a chapter. You may learn that you are bilingual – i.e., you may have more than one primary apology language. Many people would limit the concept of an apology to only

Many people would limit the concept of an apology to only an expression of regret (the first language). The book teaches that genuine apology is much more than some societal requirement for good manners. It is multi-faceted. The book is filled with real-life examples of broken human relationships that were healed through sincere apologies in an appropriate “language”.

This book is an excellent companion to The Five Love Languages. In The Five Love Languages we learn important information about how to fulfill ongoing emotional needs of our partner – by keeping their love tank filled. In The Five Languages of Apology, we learn how to restore our relationships when they become fractured or broken through our hurtful acts. The Five Languages of Apology is available in the Better Marriages store.

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