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with Juan Santos, M.S., CRC, LPC

Learn How Apologies Can Improve Relationships

One of my favorite activities to engage in with my kids is the practice of showing appreciation or apologizing. I absolutely love hearing my daughter say thank her teacher or I’m sorry to her younger brother.

The practice of apologizing is often one that heavily practiced early in life and forgotten in importance with age.

Consider your relationship. How often do you practice saying “I’m sorry” or “Thank you”.

In a recent article by Huffington Post, How Apologizing Can Improve Your Marriage, the practice of apologizing in relationships creates a healthy foundation for forgiveness and healing.

The question is, how do two people actively practice apologizing in a manner that will build their relationship and aid in overcome emotional difficulties.

First, let’s start with understanding what hurts the platform of apologizing. It’s truly simple. The act of doing something negative over and over makes it really hard for the other person to build trust, heal and overcome relationships issues.

Below are two simple and practical strategies for utilizing the platform of apologizing as a means to improve your relationship. The strategies that I touch on are the same that I teach in the Relationship Building Course and at my counseling practice.


  1. Actively practice the system of apologizing in a manner that incorporates GRIT.

Angela Lee Duckworth was recently on ted talk discussing the power of grit. In your relationship, take time to apply grit by focusing on passion and commitment. Passion highlighting the love and emotional connection you hold with your partner. Commitment is emphasized in agreeing to uphold values and habits that improve the relationship.

As a relationship counselor, I find successful couples as those that in their relationship, they take time to agree to the practice of saying “I’m sorry” or “Thank you”. Passion and commitment go hand in hand in allowing partners to remain consistent in their venture.


  1. Encouraging each other to practice empathy and understanding.

Empathy and understanding are practices that allow you to feel from the heart of your partner. To take time to understand your partner’s position in a heated debate. Empathy is a difficult skill to master. Yet, it is one that must play a vital role in healthy relationships.

As a way to build your relationship and practice apologizing, take time to understand your partner’s needs, wants and concerns. Take time to practice empathy. The more you are able to stop, process and understand the better the relationship will be.


  1. Reflection through conversation.

Forgiveness does not mean that you forget. It does not mean that you agree or accept the action. Forgiveness is looking beyond the behavior that took place and trusting that you and your partner can overcome the challenge.

When someone says “I forgive you”, it is simply not enough. Forgiveness means that you accept the apology while potentially forgetting or condoning the negative behavior.

Take time to nurture forgiveness by engaging in a conversation. Address the following questions:

  • What is the definition of forgiveness?
  • How has the action impacted the relationship?
  • What steps can I take to address the issue asking for forgiveness?
  • How can I practice empathy or understanding?
  • How can we move forward?


As you sit with your partner, hold their hand. Look into each other’s eyes and agree to work. To work, each and every day on your relationship. Addressing issues that create tension and creating opportunities for love, intimacy, and lasting love. The important factor to remember is that you are working to create a meaningful experience while showing your significant other that they are valued, needed, wanted, and loved.


Learn How Apologies Can Improve Relationships

Juan Santos M.S., CRC, LPC

Mr. Juan Santos is a professional counselor, private practice consultant and book author who specializes in relationship stability and understanding separation indicators. He has conducted hundreds of couples counseling sessions. Mr. Santos is the creator of two successful relationship strengthening courses: "A Marriage Preparation Course: For Premarital Couples" and "The Relationship Building Course: For struggling couples". He is the author of the following self-help psychology books: Couples Workbook: Making Your Relationship Work; 100 Ways Married Men Can Remain Emotionally Connected; Life Without Stress, My Journal, and Parenting Education for Hispanic Families. Mr. Santos is the owner of Santos Counseling PLLC a counseling private practice located in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC. Mr. Santos is currently completing his doctoral studies at the University of the Cumberlands. He spends his time away from work with his family enjoying the great outdoors.

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APA Reference
Santos, J. (2018). Learn How Apologies Can Improve Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2018
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