"Done well, an apology can bring closure to tensions, conflicts and hurt feelings that have been sore spots for months, even years. It can break down barriers faster than any other words or actions can." This is a quote from Gary's book.
The key thing that most people look for in an apology is sincerity. Do you feel you can be genuine when you make an apology? Working on being genuine can help the rest of this fall into place.
Apology Language #1: Expressing Regret. When we express regret, we acknowledge our own sense of guilt, shame and pain about whatever behavior has hurt the other person deeply. Begin your apology with the words, "I am sorry." But don't stop there. The more details you give about what you are sorry for, expresses that you know what you did.
Apology Language #2: Accepting Responsibility. Why do we find it so hard to say we are wrong about something? We are taught that we are weak if we say that. Actually, it takes much strength to admit we are wrong. Some people need us to admit we are wrong, because it shows we can own our actions, whether they are right or wrong. It shows sincerity that we can admit that we are not perfect.
Apology Language #3: Making Restitution. When we are wronged, we tend to feel that the other person needs to make it right again. While there are many ways to do that, what can be more important is the fact that the person puts effort in to making it right. We need to make sure that another person knows that we have plans to make it up to them. Think of what the other person's Love Language is and that can give you a hint as to how to make restitution. Does it need to be words or actions or touch, etc?
Apology Language #4: Genuine Repentance. Here we understand that our behavior is destructive, we regret the pain we have caused and we choose to change our behavior. Will this behavior continue to happen or will we take steps to learn how to change that behavior? We are saying that we are no longer making excuses.
Apology Language #5: Requesting Forgiveness. Three reasons why this is important. First, it shows that you want your relationship restored. Second, it shows that you realize that you have done something wrong. Third, it shows that you are willing to put the future of the relationship in the hands of the other person.
Apologizing does not come easy to most. It can be learned, though. Any combination of these languages can be the one that works for you with the other person. If you try one language and it is not working, then try another language or combination of those languages.
I encourage you to purchase Gary Chapman's book, The 5 Love Languages For Men or any other book on apologizing and see how it can change your relationships.