Reconciliation is often the last thing on our minds once the heat of a dispute has died down, but it is one of the ‘secret ingredients’ in mature and resilient relationships.

In the right key

It may not be possible to hit the right note in every conversation. It IS possible to be self-aware and brave enough to correct our occasional mistakes my making up. One of the hallmarks of long-lasing relationships is that the partners make sincere ‘repair attempts’ following a row.

Typically, this will be something which acknowledges and offers reconciliation without blame or ‘ifs-and-buts’ spoiling the communication. Something like “I’m sorry we argued” or “I’m sorry I sounded angry, I didn’t mean to hurt you”, expresses regret and shows empathy, without continuing the fight. Timing is critical here; do it too soon and you risk restarting the argument, too late and it won’t repair the damage.

Reconciliation not blame

An apology is not an admission of blame, it is a declaration of maturity and responsibility in the relationship. And don’t be tempted to tack-on a retort like “… but you shouldn’t have etc etc…”. It will invalidate your gesture and risks rekindling the dispute. ‘Repair attempts’ following arguments are not about the content of the dispute, they are an acknowledgement that your relationship is stronger, and more important, than your individual differences.