How Do You Apologize?

We are now in the church season of Lent, a forty day period before Easter set aside as a time of soul-searching and repentance. The forty days reflect Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for his own time of spiritual reflection. In the early church, Lent was a special time when new converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism on Easter.

Our pastor taught us about the four spiritual acts of Lent in one of his sermons:

  1. Giving to the poor
  2. Prayer
  3. Fasting/Abstaining
  4. Repentance

It’s that last one that has me thinking today. Repentance is often defined as “to feel sorrow for sin” and rightly refers to our sin against God. But, we also sin against each other in our marriage and family relationships. We offend and hurt the ones we love. And we are offended and hurt by the ones we love.

In every marriage and family there comes a time when we must repent. We must feel sorrow for our actions or words. That is often followed by an apology. How you apologize and what you say in the apology is important.

When an apology is needed, Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas in The Five Languages of Apology encourage us to include the following:

  1. Express regret – “I am sorry.” It helps to be specific about the offense. Avoid saying “but…” That tends to void the apology.
  2. Accept responsibility – “I was wrong.” (Enough said!)
  3. Make restitution – “What can I do to make it right?” This compensation may be monetary, material, or emotional or verbal support.
  4. Genuinely repent – “I’ll try not to do that again.” True repentance means change. In a marriage or family relationship, an intention to not repeat the offensive behavior needs to be verbalized in order to build trust.
  5. Request forgiveness – “Will you please forgive me?” This sends a strong signal that you know you’ve done something that requires forgiving, not just excusing. It also lets the other person know that you want to see the relationship restored.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” – Psalm 51:1-2

Do you need to apologize today?

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Married with Children (BGMFPOD-003)

Married with Children
(BGMFPOD-003)

Being married with children requires greater determination than many of us expected.  It changes your life in many ways – both in being a blessing and a challenge.

The need to maintain a satisfying relationship with your spouse while raising children is enormous. Marriages advance through an assortment of developmental stages.  Each stage is characterized by certain tasks that need to be performed in order to maintain health and focus.  Keeping your marriage alive during the years of raising children will require no less than your full commitment to performing these tasks.

Note:  You may listen to this episode now or download it free to your computer or other device. To save it to your device, right click on “Download” and choose the appropriate “Save As” option. You can also download the file from the iTunes Store for free.

Tools for Great Relationships (BGMFPOD-002)

Tools for Great Relationships
(BGMFPOD-002)

Every couple enters marriage with their own bag of tools, but is often frustrated by their attempts at fixing things. They either have the wrong tools or do not use the tools properly. Having the right tools in your relational tool bag and using them properly can help you build and sustain a great relationship. In this edition, Willie Batson looks at what he considers to be a few basic tools you should have in your relationship tool bag.

Note:  You may listen to this episode now or download it free to your computer or other device. To save it to your device, right click on “Download” and choose the appropriate “Save As” option. You can also download the file from the iTunes Store for free.

Raising Moral Kids (BGMFPOD-001)

Raising Moral Kids (BGMFPOD-001)

Strategies for helping parents raise moral kids.

Raising moral kids in an immoral world is the result of parents who have clearly defined values and are intentional about communicating their values to their children. Children are born with a will that influences their choices and judgments. As parents, our God-given “job description” includes the shaping of that will so that they will put their trust in God and keep His commands. In this episode, we look at some practical strategies for fulfilling our parental job description.

Note:  You may listen to this episode now or download it free to your computer or other device. To save it to your device, right click on “Download” and choose the appropriate “Save As” option. You can also download the file from the iTunes Store for free.

 

Forgetting To Be Married

Forgetting to be married can sabotage all your hopes and dreams for a healthy family. It is very easy for the roles to blur between being a parent and being a spouse. A major task will be to safeguard your marriage by putting your spouse ahead of the children at appropriate times. Remember, marital happiness is important not only for us but for our children as well.

While doing things as a family, many couples fail to keep some time on the busy calendar for them alone.  It’s important to do fun things together as a couple. It keeps the relationship dynamic and relieves some of the stress brought on by parenting demands.

Cindy and I learned this when we went to a restaurant for our first dinner as parents. We looked forward to being with each other and having a nice meal. Thinking that a babysitter was unnecessary, we brought our newborn daughter along assuming she would sleep through the meal in her carrier.  It was working out great until the dinners arrived at our table.  Just as we were beginning to enjoy the tasty seafood our dear daughter made a noise that could be heard several tables away.  The odor that followed did not contribute to an enjoyable meal.  We realized then that our couple time needed to be separate from our parenting.

As our family grew and we became more immersed in parenting, one of the key things we did was to get control of the family calendar.  We monitored our activities to prevent over-commitment and to have some semblance of a life at home. Date nights were intentionally put on the family calendar and money for babysitters was allocated in the family budget. Occasionally, Cindy and I would go away by ourselves on an overnight trip not far from home.

We also found it helpful to put the kids to bed at a decent hour on a regular basis.  Not only did they benefit from the rest and routine, but we also found time in the evening for each other.

Your marriage is a rich and personal resource for your children. As you focus on your children and all that is involved in raising them, don’t forget to be married.