An Apology That Builds Closeness

I recall a conversation with a close friend of mine, in which he shared how after a heated quarrel with his wife, she vulnerably opened up about feeling embarrassed over her reaction towards him. My friend expressed how meaningful that was to him for her to share vulnerably the impact her own actions towards him felt for her. He mentioned how he felt closer to her and how it was much more moving and healing to hear her share heartfelt embarrassment, entering into a vulnerable realm in their relationship.

Impacted by this story, I pondered on how we and, more specifically I, attempt to repair the hurts that come up in relationships. I notice with myself that I will quickly apologize often in the delivery of "I'm Sorry." But honestly, this is a reflexive response, quite automatic and self-protective when I encounter another's hurt in effect to my actions. My intention is to avoid the emotional blow amidst another's bruising. How painful to experience that someone has been hurt in the realm of our relationship and I want to cover up the ache and embarrassment.

But a "sorry" doesn't quite reach a satisfying mending. There is still an open gash that exists. An apology seems like a quick fix that truncates building intimacy. Sometimes the other may feel hurt despite no intention of harming, but listening and engaging and seeking to understand is integral. And yet, there are moments where I react out of hurt, with intention to wound the other. True ownership is the vulnerable expression of feeling toward's one's own actions and motives done in humbleness.

Expressing embarrassment and sadness over my own actions towards another with no intention to stifle their hurt and pain is far more powerful in reparation than a quick-fire succinct apology. When deeper levels of vulnerable expression and exchange occur, repair naturally happens, bringing a greater closeness and connection that inevitably strengthens the bond. Like any physical wound, relational wounds take nurturing and care between one another for wholistic healing to take effect. 

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