Brides and grooms meet me before they get married, and as a cantor who officiates Jewish wedding ceremony I am often asked - what role does apologizing play in a marriage ?
To rebuild trust in your marriage, you have to accept responsibility, apologize, and own it. And, never, ever try to justify it or offer any kind of explanation or excuses. “Although all choices are made in the context of what is happening for you, that won’t help you when you’re asking for forgiveness,” says Anna Osborn, a California-based licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in couples, relationships, and love. “Offering any sort of justification for your actions or minimizing them (i.e. ‘At least I didn’t do X’) will only make your spouse shut down and feel doubly hurt.”
Sometimes we are stubborn and don’t want to apologize but I assure you, you will have a more fulfilling and happier marriage if you master the words I’m sorry. It can defuse a bad situation quickly and if you are sincere and truly mean it your spouse will be able to tell that you are really sorry.
In the Torah, Joseph was beaten and thrown in a pit by his brothers because they were jealous of him. Years later after being sold into slavery and rising up to the ranks and becoming rich and famous his brothers came to him begging for food not recognizing him. Joseph had a choice: to forgive them for what they had done or not forgive them. He chose to forgive them and a huge weight was lifted off of his shoulders. In a marriage it’s important when our partner apologizes to us that we accept their apology with a full and true heart. Forgive and forget- it’s such an important motto. And never ever bring up the infraction that your souse did in a future discussion or argument or fight because that’s not “fair fighting”. Once your spouse apologized to you squash it and don’t use what they did to fuel a future argument.
These kinds of conversations is what I offer and discuss with brides and grooms before I officiate their wedding. I try to set them up for success to have a fulfilling and successful marriage.