Step 3: Prevent and repair.
This is the crucial part of a perfect apology. Without this step, you won't win forgiveness. Complete your five-minute apology conversation by explaining to your mate how you will fix the damage done, or offer a plan of action to prevent the mistake from recurring.
For instance, if you opened your big mouth to your children, you can't fix the damage. But you can assure your mate that in the future you will share your frustrations directly with him or her, not with the kids. Plus, you can grant your partner permission to interrupt you and remind you of your agreement if you say something negative about him/her.
But what if you're not the guilty party and, instead, your mate is. Since that person doesn't know the three steps in a perfect apology, you can coach him or her into telling you what you need to hear.
Tell the offending party-in this case your mate-that a quick two-word "I'm sorry" doesn't work for you, and that you need to know exactly what he or she is sorry for. After he or she lists some reasons, ask how this mistake can be prevented from happening again. You will probably need to offer some suggestions here. Once your mate agrees to a practical prevention plan, bury the mistake and move on to enjoy your time together.
Use this perfect apology strategy to fight less, love more, and keep your homefront a peaceful, loving place.