Open and honest communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship. One crucial aspect of effective communication is taking responsibility for our actions and words. 

It’s not always easy to admit our faults or accept responsibility for the impact we have on our partner. However, renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman provides valuable insights into how couples can accept responsibility while still telling the truth. 

In this blog post, we will explore five powerful phrases that can help you strengthen your relationship while maintaining honesty and integrity.

By the way, these can be used in any relationship, not just romantic ones. I was fortunate enough to study in person with Gottman.


  1. I hear you, and I understand how my actions affected you

Accepting responsibility starts with acknowledging your partner’s perspective and validating their feelings. By acknowledging that you understand the impact of your actions, you create a safe space for open dialogue. This phrase demonstrates empathy, showing your partner that you genuinely care about their emotions and are willing to take responsibility for your role in causing them.


2. I’m sorry for my part in this

A sincere apology can work wonders in healing wounds and rebuilding trust. When you say, “I’m sorry for my part in this,” you are explicitly owning up to your actions without deflecting blame or making excuses. It’s essential to focus on your own behavior and how it contributed to the situation rather than shifting responsibility onto your partner or external factors.


3. I will work on changing this behavior

Accepting responsibility means committing to positive change. Acknowledge the areas where you can improve and assure your partner that you are dedicated to making lasting changes. By demonstrating your willingness to work on yourself, you build trust and show that you are invested in the growth of your relationship.


4. How can I make it right for you?

Taking responsibility isn’t just about acknowledging your actions; it’s also about making amends. Ask your partner how you can make things right and show that their happiness is a priority to you. By actively seeking solutions and following through on your promises, you foster a sense of security and demonstrate your commitment to repairing any damage caused.


5. I value our relationship and want to learn from this

Accepting responsibility goes beyond a single incident; it involves learning from your mistakes. Express your dedication to personal growth by emphasizing that you value the relationship and the lessons it provides. By demonstrating a growth mindset, you inspire your partner to do the same and create a space where both of you can learn, evolve, and strengthen your bond.


Relationships require effort, compromise, and honest communication. Accepting responsibility for our actions can be challenging, but it is essential for building trust and fostering a healthy partnership. By incorporating these phrases inspired by Gottman’s teachings, you can navigate difficult conversations with grace and integrity, preserving the truth while honoring your commitment to personal growth and connection.


Remember, building a strong foundation of acceptance and accountability is an ongoing process. By consistently practicing these phrases and maintaining open lines of communication, you can create a relationship where both partners feel heard, understood, and supported in their journey of growth together.