The Languages of Apologizing

by | Communication, Everyday, Firefighter Marriage

Lori: Good morning.

Dan: Good morning.

Lori:, Lori Mercer and Dan Mercer this morning.

Lori: Hey Guys, I hope Rich comes on because look what I did. He said, “You guys need a banner.” This was the best I could do this morning. The focus is probably not even allowing you guys to read that.
There’s Rich! Rich, I got my sign, it’s temporary. I have visions. I could put a nice chalkboard back there that we could change each time, but I need to work on my handwriting because that’s not super neat.

Apology Languages (1:50)

The topic today is “Apology Languages.” I wrote a blog post way at the beginning for Firefighter Wife(see this blog – When He Doesn’t Say He’s Sorry) It was something like, and this is not throwing my husband under the bus because I say this while he is sitting next to me, he didn’t say sorry for seven years. He actually he doesn’t say the words I’m sorry very much, but now I get it because it’s not his natural love language or apology language.


You all know the book, The Five Love Languages? What’s the love language of your spouse and your own? You receive love the most when it comes in the form of your love language. Apology Language is the same way. People have different apology languages, and a lot of it has to do with your upbringing, but that’s not an excuse because we can learn and grow and change. You should be and I should be wanting to learn his Dan) Apology Language and his love language and learn to do it better. So that’s the gist of this discussion today.

Who has read this book? Who’s read the Five Languages of Apology? Anybody?

Dan: Don’t feel bad I haven’t read it either, obviously.

Lori: To be fair I haven’t read this book cover to cover because…

Dan: She doesn’t read many books cover to cover.

Lori: I don’t, I read the intro I go through the outline I get the gist I read reviews on the book.

Periscope User Comment: “Never heard of it”

Lori: Oh never heard of it? Good then this is something new. I’m just that kind of learner, some people read cover to cover, I’m kind of a speed reader.

Dan: Incomplete reader

Lori: Come on I get it, I get it. If I get enough from it I can, it’s OK

Periscope User Comment: “Our next road trip together.”

Lori: Oh for your next road trip! This one I happened to pull up was an “audible.” Listen to the book on tape. I can’t believe you guys haven’t heard of it. I’ve talked about this a ton on Firefighter Wife. That tells me I’m definitely not pushing my blog post as much as we could be. So, in the end there are 5 languages of apology, and there’s a test you can take online. I’m not going to be able to recap all five of them, probably because I didn’t read the book cover to cover, but it’s similar to the love languages.

Some people are very verbal love givers, some people it’s acts of service. The apology languages are similar. So we would get in big blow up fights. This is no secret we’ve written all about it all over the website. He would go for days without talking to me. I would go for days writing novels of emails to him about you know, what’s going on, what I think is going on. You know nothing, radio silence, no response. Eventually there would be something that would break the ice, usually it’s something with the kids. We can just kind of ease back into being in the same room together. Something would soften our hearts and we would reconcile, but he never said the words “I’m Sorry.” That sort of stuck with me, and I was like, “He said some really awful things and I never heard the words.” He would come home and do all the laundry and do all the dishes, come off shift and be like a different person. I knew that was his way of, “Alright things are going to be OK, this one wasn’t a deal breaker, we’re going to get through it.” I mean you do say I’m sorry now. He’s very good about saying I’m sorry now, but early on that was definitely not the case.

Not sure what your Apology Language is? Ask around. (5:36 )

Dan: I was so disconcerted from it that I can’t even really recall what she’s talking about. I have to take her at her word that did happen. You know you see yourself much different as than world sees you. I guess the point of that, for the educational benefit of why we Periscope is, guys gals too, do that 360. Ask other people, if you’re trying to examine what your apology language is, maybe for the seven years, maybe if Lori would have just dropped a hint. Ask other people if you don’t say you’re sorry. I, of course, as a husband I would have been like “What? Of course I do! You’re crazy.”

If you have a moment when you’re not in a conflict, where you say ask someone else, ask your mom, ask your sister, ask your co-workers. I’m not crazy, it’s not just me. Looking back, if Lori would have done that and we would have had someone’s opinion who we trusted express that to me, when it’s coming from a different source other than the person who’s expecting an apology, it becomes a little bit more right there in your face. At least for guys like me who need to be hit in the head with a frying pan to get my attention.

Periscope User Comment: “Unfortunately we’re not mind readers and we have to communicate with each other.”

Lori: That’s right, we’re not mind readers and that was what the seven years was about. We survived seven years and I never felt like I was getting an apology. He thought he was doing it all along, and it just took some time for us to communicate and learn that.

Dan: It might have been that I didn’t think I was wrong.

Lori: (laughs) Oh my gosh!

Periscope User Comment: “I apologize for everything.”

Lori: Apologizing for everything is a different topic because sometimes people are legitimately in the wrong. Now we have the opposite problem too where people constantly blame, blame, blame the other. The opposite end of apologizing for everything doesn’t let your partner own their part of the issue.

Dan: Right.

Lori: OK, so you need to be careful about that because if you’re not being honest about your feelings…

Dan: The other side of that, let’s say Lori was that way, if she was constantly apologizing to me, well that’s like easy street. That puts me on, “Why would I even try to strengthen that muscle?” That apologizing muscle. Why would I look for self-improvement, if there doesn’t seem to be anything to improve on? There has to be. Something has to not force our hand, but something has to be presented in order for change to occur.

Lori: Yeah.

Dan: You know we’re guys, some guys aren’t like this, but I can only speak for me personally. If it’s not brought to my attention. I’ve got other things to focus on, I got to keep moving.

Periscope User Comment: “Todd apologizes when he messes up, and then I get the housecleaning too!”

Lori: I’m laughing at what Christine said, that’s a whole different topic, because I agree.

Dan: What’s that?

Lori: What you we’re just talking about and it’s OK. Christine and I were talking about how you and Sean can get in a room and just go around a million topics together.

The Languages of ApologizingAdd heading

I’m Sorry – Verbalize It and Mean It  (8:40)

Dan: Todd’s doing it right then. If he’s apologizing and taking care of the house. That’s a win win. That’s his way you know, and that’s, I guess, a big thing we didn’t talk about. Like what if I don’t like the way Lori’s apology language is? What if that doesn’t jive with me? What if that’s hasn’t satisfied me? That can be horrible.

Lori: Because it’s not your apology language.

Dan: Right.

Lori: I’m doing it wrong.

Dan: Yeah and same with her. Maybe I was trying for the seven years and she was like that isn’t what I want to hear. You know, I need you to sit down across from me and verbalize, “I’m sorry” and if you don’t talk about that…..oooh you know.

Lori: You just triggered something really good, you know what people really want to hear?

Dan: That’s what I do, I trigger good things.

Lori: This is why it’s really good to do it together. What I really would have wanted to hear back then is not just I’m sorry, but I’m sorry and I’m working on myself and I never want that to happen again.

Dan: Sure.

Lori: Like those are such powerful words in a relationship right? I recognize this I’m working on it and never want it to happen again.

Dan: It goes along the line of what you said before, you not only want me to say I’m sorry, you want me to want to be sorry. It’s not I don’t want you to just say you’re sorry, I truly want you to be, I want you to understand why I need you to be apologetic.

Lori: That’s a good point to, like the, “Well I’m sorry,” that is not really an I’m sorry. That’s the wrong tone.

Periscope User Comment: “So true! An apology with a plan is the best to hear after a disagreement.”

Lori: An apology with a plan……

Dan: We’ve all done that, one or two hundred times before in my life.

Lori: That’s a great statement an apology with a plan is best after a disagreement, yeah. We explain what we are thinking and feeling to the other person who actually understands. It’s the whole, that’s a basic communication thing. Like, “I hear you saying this, am I interpreting that right,” and making sure you’re getting on the same page. It takes a while to come around to that sometimes.  It really does.

Dan: I don’t think you’ll nail it every time either. There will be times when the topic isn’t that conflictual, and it will be quick and easy, and I don’t even have to understand why she’s got as upset as she did. Sometimes I just don’t need a long explanation from her. I think we’re growing in marriage as we’ve gotten better in trust and all that has established. When I’m running out of the door, when we’ve had a little urgh , a little dust up or something, we’re at a point now, thank heavens, that I can say “Look I’m sorry, I’m sorry you’re right and I didn’t mean it that way, I don’t have time to explain it now, I’ve got to take Macy to brownies.”

Lori: We’ll come back to it.

Dan: We’ll either come back to it or that’s enough. Thank heavens we’re getting to a point now, she sincerely believes me when I just go “I didn’t mean that, it came out the wrong way,” or, “I didn’t know it meant that much to you.” If you find those little key things to say that you’ve already established trust with somebody and yeah.

Periscope User Comment: “An apology with lots of excuses and no change gets me even more upset.”

Lori: That’s a great point. If you apologize but there’s no meat behind it, the pattern doesn’t change. The behavior doesn’t change. You don’t keep your promise, You don’t build trust that way with each other. That’s definitely just words.

Dan: You can almost script that, it’s like, “I’m sorry.” “You do that every time!” “I’m sorry.” “It’s ok that you’re sorry, but you do it every time.” If you’re hearing that, guys or ladies, that’s an indicator. More than words.

Periscope User Comment: From Ohio! I hate the “I’m sorry but….” I feel like that still lacking sincerity!”

Lori: I’m sorry but… I’m sorry but… That’s were your still sort of in that processing place to legitimately, even if you don’t agree, I think it’s important to be like “I’m really sorry that this hurt your feelings, and this is something we’re going to have to work through.” You can disagree but be genuinely sorry that whatever happened hurt that persons, I mean we have this a lot, that’s probably our most common disagreement right now, I’m never intending to hurt your feelings, but we’ve got this issue over here that you and I see differently and we’re going to have to keep going through it.

Accept Each Other for Who You Are (12:59)

Dan: We’re very different people. I mean you guys see us as this couple who gets along great, and we do. It’s because I understand who she is. She understands who I am. She does things way different than I would. Her attention and her focus is ten times more concentrated than mine, and that’s OK. It creates great things. All that she’s doing with you folks and with the 24-7 COMMITMENT. None of that would have come into play. None of that would be even possible, if it weren’t for her drive and her focus and everything. But at the same time I live a life that’s much different, and I focus on much different things. I can get jealous. I can get, not upset, but I want her to be in a different focus for a moment. So she apologizes for that. Am I rambling? The point I’m trying to make is, I understand even the things I don’t like, she’s not doing to honk me off and the same token, most of the things I do I’m not doing it to deliberately honk her off.

Lori: Another way to say that is, you apologize about a situation or disagreement, it doesn’t mean that you have to entirely change who you are to be a different person for your spouse.

Dan: That’s exactly the point.

Lori: You try to get to the point where you appreciate each other as you are, and you understand your different personalities might rub each other the wrong way or react differently in different situations. You know what, this is why marriage is forever not easy because every age you get to, every milestone there’s new things that will rub you the wrong way.

Dan: She knows, I believe in my heart that she knows, I’ll say “Why don’t you not do that, come do this,” or, “That’s not that important.” You know that stuff that she feels is important is important, but at the moment I don’t see it the way she sees it.

Lori: And it hurts my feelings sometimes when he says that. That’s not very important to me, but it is very important, right?

Dan: But she’ll say, “I’m taking care of it, I know you’re not pleased with it right now. I’m sorry.” She knows in her heart and we both know where “that’s enough” lies, you agree?

Lori: Yeah.

Dan: She can lay that card on the table. That’s enough, no, and I can do the same thing. If I’m convicted about what I’m saying is right, and it’s not a temporarily apology. I don’t want a dismissal right now. I’m serious. Then we both have that ability to, and that’s important to, is to recognize when your spouse is like, “I’m sorry, ‘we’re moving on’ is not what I’m looking for right now.”

Lori: But in this periscope we’re not going to solve all the reasons why we need an apology. Which is sort of the path we’re going right now. What we do want to say is in any of those situations where you’re hurting each other’s feelings, intentionally or unintentionally, then knowing the apology language is a great tool to have in your marriage tool box. It’s just a great tool. So that’s a great book, that I haven’t read all the way, only skimmed and done reviews and done the test. It’s actually been years since I’ve done it that’s why I can’t quote all five.

Periscope User Comment: “Apology language: A book?”

Additional Marriage Resources (16:21)

Lori: I showed it earlier but I didn’t show, I’ll show it again to everyone who’s on here. So it’s from the authors who did the Five Love Languages, and it’s the Five Languages of Apology.


You can also go to We have a lot of resources out there for marriage, and actually we are just kicking tail on our website upgrades. If you go to, all of our favorite marriage resources are out there, including this book I mentioned. Including the blog post I mentioned about how I didn’t hear I was sorry for seven years. That’s one of the most read blog posts on our site by the way, of all time, over three years. It’s probably in the top five of how many times it’s been read which tells me it’s a very important point. A lot of people need to hear that and understand that and appreciate that, and this book is great to go with it.

There are so many good comments. Thank you guys for all those good comments. I know I couldn’t quite read all of them or get to them, I’m still learning on Periscope. Somehow people are able to go back and see comments. I’m going to have to do some more Periscope training to learn that. The ones that scroll by I’m like, “How do I get back and see those?”

Forgive and Forget (17:46)

Dan: I was looking at your notes, and apologies aren’t just between your man wife either. There are things that can come into your marriage and, because you haven’t sought, given, or received an apology that you want, we’re harmed or injured or hurt by people outside of our marriages that can carry an influence your marriage.

Lori had written down “What’s the biblical principle of apologies?” You know, everyone knows the 70 times 7, then forgive and forget. We had a nice discussion before we even got on the ‘scope about what that means to us and what we feel. You know forgive and forget. It’s not easy to forgive, but it’s even more difficult to forget. I brought up to her, I said, “If I show you my wallet and then I put it away. I say forget that it’s brown. You can’t physically make yourself forget.” I believe that it’s the whole, when you forgive with your heart, over time you will forget. There’s your forget out of the forgiveness.

Lori: The biblical side of it, I mean the 70 times 7. If you’re hurt in a big way it just takes a long time to rebuild trust and to get over that hurt. But the first step is for softening your heart and letting that forgiveness happen. Accepting the apology. Oh and here’s another great thing about apology that reminds me, you may give a very heartfelt apology, but if the person doesn’t receive it that is not your responsibility.

Those of you who are always saying, “I’m always saying I’m sorry,” maybe your receiver is not accepting the apology. Could be maybe you’re not talking their apology language. Could be you’re apologizing for the wrong thing. Could be you’re not changing your behavior, and they really want to see a change in behavior. But you know everything, even in marriage, you own this first. We talked about that on Tuesday this week. Taking care of you making yourself feel better, softening your heart and really letting your guard down. Saying “ I want to ask for forgiveness, because I really messed up,” and processing, understanding what you really messed up. Even then that person may not accept that, and that’s a tough place to be in. Then you just have to keep letting your actions show in your heart stay in that soft place, and your actions show, “Hey I’m sorry. I really messed up.”

I think equally, you know when you do have one of those good conversations and you get to that point of forgiveness and the forget part. It’s not easy to forget you know that mistake. It comes back up. It can come back up in healthy ways, like, “Hey we worked through this before. Remember when we worked through this?”

Dan: Sure.

Lori: It can come back up in unhealthy ways if you let it, like “you always…” I hate that phrase in marriage, “you always…” Nothing sets me on edge more than, “You always do this.” It’s never that way, because that’s not a true statement. That’s emotions, right? That’s emotions speaking up. It’s more like, “When this happens I feel like we always blah blah blah,” is maybe a better way to do it. When there’s forgiveness that has occurred, you can’t keep bringing that up and throwing it back in the persons face. That’s just not effective. That’s pretty basic. We know that right, awesome.

Do we have anymore apology topics? Do we need to apologize for anything publicly? That could be the Periscope public apology.

Dan: There’s plenty I’m sure, sit and make you a list, from being involved in Honor Guard to not getting peoples’ comments, to you know, it’s a million things.

East Some Humble Pie (21:40)

Periscope User Comment: “Sometimes you just need to take a big ol’ bite of humble pie. That will help you apologize.”

Lori: A big ol’ bite of humble pie, absolutely!

Dan: Oh yeah, humble yourself. Soon as I learned how to do that, life got a whole lot easier. A whole lot easier

Lori: Yeah because guess what? You’re not always right. You are not always right…I’m pointing at myself.

Dan: Seth told me one time at Flame Fest in Atlanta, I believe it was…Chicago, but something that stuck with me really well and this pertains to apologies. It pertains to a ton of stuff in my life, but it pertains to apologies as well. When I don’t apologize it’s because I’m doing what I want to do. I’m being selfish. At the end of the day that’s really what it is. I don’t want to humble myself like Rich just said, and I want to do what I want to do. Seth made a great comment, he said, “I had stopped doing what Seth wanted to do because all it did was get me in trouble and take me down a road.” You fix yourself. “Dan” doesn’t always do what, and “Dan” can’t do what Dan always wants to do because it doesn’t always lead to good. As long as I stay focused on, and I’m not saying I’m not myself, I’m just saying if I stay focused on god, focused on my marriage, focused on you know not being that guy who you know, before I met Christ and before I met Lori, then I, you know, stay out of trouble, so being a good apologist is basically not always doing what Dan wants to do, but I know it’s the right thing to do, does that make sense?

Lori: Yeah.

Dan: That’s part of that. Humble yourself, humble yourself and understand you Dan, Rich, Seth are not right here and I can’t do what I want to do, I’ve got to do what’s right and apologize, wholeheartedly.

Wrap Up (23:58)

Lori: That’s right, alright good topic guys, I knew this would be a good one. We’ve only got two more days left in Fire Prevention in your Marriage month. The last day we are going to do a wrap up of all the favorite moments. So if you guys have any favorite moments from these 30 days or these 30 day ‘scopes, let me know right away so I can even try to pull clips. We can share them. If you have any big topics we missed, I don’t know that I can squeeze them into two days, but we can get them into November. What I found is that there’s endless need to ‘scope on all these topics. Basically anything we’ve ever put into our blog, written about. Doing that on video like this brings it alive and brings new insights.

Dan: People seem to really like this, this medium.

Lori: Yeah, it’s been a good medium.

Dan: We’re all lazy no one wants to read anything anymore. Everybody wants to click a link and watch a video.

Lori: Oh no, no, no, no. Actually I have people tell me they don’t want to watch this, because they prefer reading. It’s really a personality preference. People who haven’t been reading the blog, a lot of you who didn’t know about my blog post probably, may prefer watching the video, and of course a lot of people enjoy the live interaction aspect.

Dan: Sure.

Lori: But what we’re doing is, and I don’t know if I had time to tell you this, I got this guy in the UK and he is taking all of our video Periscopes. He’s editing them into replays with transcription, so everything we spoke, he’s turning it into a written article also. Yeah it’s very fun to read, and that way it also goes into the written form. For people who don’t prefer video, because you know it takes time to sit and listen to the video, maybe you’re not in a place that you can have your earphones in or your kids are around. So we’re going to have it in both formats. That means those of you who have been ‘scoping on this, which if your ‘scoping #247commitment@wifeonfire, and please set up your Katch account,, so they live a little longer. We can pull snippets from your Katch accounts and add it to our video feed here. So if you guys have a great thing to add about apology languages, tag me on that ‘scope. Let me know, “Hey, this segment between 2 and 3 minutes was really powerful,” and we’ll add it into our video clip. You can live on in infamy on the website! You can repurpose this. It needs to reach more people than just, like right now there’s 19 live online. I don’t know how many who have come and gone and will get the replays, but it can reach more people than just people that are right now this moment who are able to be online.

Dan: 9 o’clock on a Thursday morning.

Lori: Exactly, so it’s good stuff.

Dan: Yeah.

Lori: OK…END……

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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.

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