by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas
Chapman, author of the bestselling The Five Love Languages, teams up with psychologist Thomas for thoughtful dissection of another tricky subject. Chapman and Thomas choose to tackle the apology because, as with love, understanding it is essential for developing, maintaining and repairing relationships. Apology, however, covers a much broader scope, applying to all varieties of relationships, from the deeply personal connection between intimate partners to the formal relationships between nations. Chapman and Thomas’s basic observation that we don’t all agree on what constitutes a sincere apology is perhaps not surprising, but it may, as they show, help couples who can’t resolve arguments because their apologies aren’t accepted. The authors stress that you need to learn the “language” of the person you are apologizing to: for one person, it may be expressing regret, while for another it’s accepting responsibility or making restitution. Especially useful is the chapter that helps readers learn which language of apology feels most sincere to them. Chapman and Thomas are most apt when they seek to repair relationships not with large ideas but with simple basics that are too often taken for granted.