When things get rough in a relationship, communication is one of the first things to fly out the window. For many couples, this breakdown is the kiss of death. Poor communication turns into misinterpretation, which unleashes a storm of negative feelings and consequences.

To avoid this, troubled couples need to take a trip to Hawaii. Okay, not literally. Mentally? Yes. Native Hawaiians have a practice known as Ho’oponopono.

At its essence, Ho’oponopono is all about reconciliation and forgiveness.

Let’s explore 8 Ho’oponopono-inspired phrases that troubled partners can call on to communicate difficulties in a productive fashion.

‘Ho’oponopono’ translates loosely into the “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” We’ll begin this list by exploring this translation piece by piece, starting with…

#1 – “I’m Sorry.”


First of all, let’s clear something up. Saying “I’m sorry” does not always equate to admittance of guilt. Often, it can signify acknowledgement that your actions – or lack thereof – caused your partner pain.

This is a crucial acknowledgement to make when it comes to addressing relationship difficulties. Let’s be honest – rough patches in a relationship are rarely just one person’s fault. Even when partners cheat, it’s often because of some perceived offense against them.

By opening your discussion with an apology, you let your partner know that you’re willing to discuss what you may have done that led to the rough patch. This makes it clear that you’re not looking for a fight but rather a productive discussion.

#2 – “Please Forgive Me.”

As great as apologies are, you don’t just want to leave things at that. I’ve made that mistake myself, only to be accused later on of trying to come across as morally superior and in control of the situation.

By asking for forgiveness, you humble yourself. You let your partner know that you’re not trying to sweep the offense you’ve apologized for under the rug. You’re acknowledging their hurt and the fact that they need time to reach a place of forgiveness.

#3 – “I Love You.”


This lets your partner know exactly why you’re apologizing and seeking forgiveness. It’s not some conniving strategic attempt to get them to act civil at your upcoming meeting with the parents. It’s because you love them.

This is your chance to get personal and be specific as to why you love your partner.

#4 – “Thank You.”

Find something positive about the way your partner handled the difficulty in question and thank them for it. Even if it’s as simple as the fact that they kept the conflict between the two of you and didn’t spread rumors, say thank you for something.

This shows that you understand the importance of focusing on the positive in your relationship – an attitude that will hopefully find its way into your discussion.

#5 – “What Do You Need Me To Do Right Now?”


Over these next four points, we’ll be expanding on the Ho’oponopono principles.

This particular question is a favorite of marriage therapist Esther Boykin. According to her, it promotes positivity, inspiration and kindness.

It’s a great way to show your partner that you’re interested in making them feel better rather than just coming up with a solution that’s convenient or easy for you to enact.

#6 – “I Appreciate You.”

In times of romantic difficulty, it’s very easy for this sentiment to get lost. Avoid that by making it clear there are still things you value about your partner, despite the present circumstances.

According to relationship blog Em and Lo, appreciation alone can actually pull couples through difficult times.

#7 – “I Respect You.”


This is a particularly good phrase to preface any argument or accusation you may be posing as you and your partner discuss the present rough patch. Let your partner know that, although they may do and think things you don’t like, you respect their rights.

Remember, at the root of love is respect.

#8 – “Going Forward, I Will…”

Alright, so you’ve worked your way through the previous 7 phrases with your partner. This last phrase answers the question of ‘Now what?’

What’s the takeaway from your conversation? How are you going to work to not only get through the current rough patch but prevent it from happening again? As with all of these points, don’t forget to follow up #8 with action. Show your partner that you’re serious about making things work.

Want more tips for keeping love and passion alive in your relationship through tough times? Have a look at this post and the video below!

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