Husbands, here’s a breakdown of what needs to happen when you’ve messed up and your wife is upset.

Because we expect our spouse to be gentle with our heart, the first thing that needs to happen when you’ve messed up is to gain an understanding of why we feel the way we do. All feelings are valid, even when they make no sense to you. Acknowledging our feelings, listening to us attentively and coming from a space and place of understanding is beneficial and aides us in the healing process. We don’t need to feel belittled, judged or misunderstood. If you are unclear, ask clarifying questions.

Next is to apologize. Your behavior may not have been intentional, but if it hurts us, there’s a need for an apology.

Don’t blame us for your behavior. Somehow shifting or pointing fingers back to us for the reason you did what you did is counterproductive. We need you to own it, fully own it.

Reassure us that we can trust you and your decision-making as well as your choices. Confirming that whatever happened won’t happen again is a good sign and furthers our confidence in the relationship.

Have solutions already in mind. There’s nothing more powerful than owning and taking responsibility for your actions and figuring out how to resolve the situation at the same time.

Eliminate pity party mode. Those sexy puppy dog eyes aren’t necessarily helpful here, nor do they make us feel any better about the situation. Being honest and humble while asking for forgiveness is always the best route to take.

Keep in mind your leadership sets the tone for the relationship. Shift your focus so you aren’t so tied to the idea of us reciprocating your actions right away. We learn from you and will mirror what we see in you. If we have a partner who doesn’t care, it’s more difficult for us to care as much. If our husband is lazy in love, it make us want to be lazy in love as well. On the other hand, if we have a spouse who is giving and makes sacrifices, we will see the value and desire to do the same.