The Five Languages of Apology -- How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships

by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Jennifer Thomas

Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the best-selling book The Five Love Languages. He has a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Jennifer Thomas has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland. Both authors are highly accomplished counselors.

In talking with their clients, the authors discovered that when one person thought he or she had apologized to another, the other person did not recognize it as an apology. "The supposed apology was not having the desired effect of forgiveness and reconciliation." (p. 13) The authors believe that "what one person considers an apology is not what another person considers to be an apology." In essence, they have different languages of apology. "From our observations as marital therapists," the authors write, "we notice a deafening lack of persuasive apologies. We believe that the shortage of apologies with impact may be a central factor in the epidemic of crumbling marriages that we see today." (p. 14)

The first half of the book identifies five different forms of apology:

1. Expressing Regret -- "I am sorry"
2. Accepting Responsibility -- "I was wrong"
3. Making Restitution -- "What can I do to make it right?"
4. Genuinely Repenting -- "I'll try not to do that again."
5. Requesting Forgiveness -- "Will you please forgive me?"

The second half of the book illustrates how helping people recognize the different forms of apology can enhance relationships in marriages, in parenting, in families, in dating relationships, and at work.