How to Forgive Your Spouse
Forgiveness in your marriage is one of the most important skills that a couple can learn. Forgiveness is the basis for any relationship to move forward after a rocky situation. It helps you be at peace in both yourself and in your marriage. Here’s some information on it is and how your can implement forgiveness in you marriage.
What is forgiveness?
We all have different views on what true forgiveness is. Some believe that it is saying I forgive you, but then continuing to bring up the same topic that we have forgiven. Others think that it is completely forgetting that someone hurt you altogether. Some also think that forgiving someone means that their pain is invalid or that they are giving up their power if they forgive.
Forgiveness is strength
Forgiveness in marriage takes an awful lot of strength. It order to forgive, you need to be able to access the most vulnerable parts of your emotions. Vulnerability requires strength to access.
What keeps us from accessing our vulnerable sides (especially men) is our ego. Our ego does not want us to wrong, it does want us to appear weak, and it certainly does not want us lose our sense of self worth. That is why we have trouble being vulnerable.
It takes an incredibly strong person, to become comfortable with saying “no” to the ego and accepting that being vulnerable is the only way to improve your situation and your self.
Being able to forgive is dependent on the ability to become vulnerable. If you can’t check your ego at the door, you will never allow yourself to acknowledge what is true, and you will never allow anyone who hurt you to come back in to space. Why? Because you are scared. Fear feeds the ego. Facing that fear is vulnerability. Facing that fear takes strength.
Forgiveness is love
The best way to show love for your spouse is to show forgiveness in your marriage. There is nothing that is more challenging to do than to forgive someone for a serious transgression that hurt you, especially if it is more than once.
That is why it is such an act of love toward your spouse. It is you showing them compassion when you are the one who is hurt. Its sounds backwards, but in reality, it’s the only way forward. To show someone compassion when you feel hurt by them is true love, and a learning experience that you can share together.
In addition to showing love to your spouse, the most important part about forgiveness is that you are showing love to yourself. There is not much that is worse for your mental health and happiness than holding a grudge.
You make yourself miserable, while the other person likely moves on and becomes happy. Even though they were the one that hurt YOU. This is simply a recipe for you to live in misery, thinking about everything bad that people have done to you.
If you are able to forgive, you can let go of the transgressions. They will no longer affect your mood negatively or take up precious space in your mind. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself as much as it is loving the other person (whether it’s from a distance or not).
What forgiveness is NOT
Forgiving is not equivalent to condoning bad behavior. Just because you forgive someone, it does not mean that you are okay with their actions. There should be an expectation that they improve the behavior, or at least show effort in trying (it takes a while for certain things).
Reconciliation is a huge payoff for forgive in most cases. But if behavior never changes, you can’t simply forget about it. You may even have to separate in the cases of ongoing abusive behavior. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that your pain
How to practice forgiveness in your marriage
Dislodge from negative actions
While your emotions are neither good nor bad, the actions you take can be. Channel your emotions into positive thoughts and actions. If you begin to think positively, more positive things will come out of your situation.
Whether you are sad, mad, hurt, or all of the above, channel those emotions into rational thinking. It’s a challenge, but it is possible. Ask yourself what you want (even though you’re hurt), and how can you achieve it. Don’t give in to the negative actions anger, and sadness so often tell us to do.
Share your hurt
It is imperative that when you forgive your spouse, that you make sure that you do not stifle yourself. They still need to know that they hurt you, they need to understand why they hurt you, and they will need to take responsibility for their behavior.
If you don’t share you pain with them, this just gives them a free pass to continue to behave poorly. So make sure that you are open and honest about your feelings, without being punitive.
Don’t let things fester
Like above you have to share your feelings, but it would also be wise to not let your feelings fester. Often times, past a certain point, the longer you live with sadness or anger, the more likely you will channel those emotions into negative actions.
Once you have gotten a grip on your emotions, and are level-headed, approach the situation. This will certainly reduce the risk of negative actions coming from your emotions.
Accept that people make mistakes
It’s quite simple. People make mistakes, and it is something we have to live with. We can choose to forgive and mend the relationship, or we can choose not to forgive, and make both parties miserable.
Usually people choose poor behavior based on others’ behaviors whether they are conscious or not. Which brings me to the next part…
Accept responsibility for your part in the issue
Sometimes the mistakes others make are partially driven from your actions. This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have made better choices. But it also doesn’t mean you couldn’t have made better choice as well.
Perhaps it is mostly their fault, but generally people don’t hurt others without someone amount of pain caused to them for something else. Again this can be based on well-intentioned subconscious behavior.
Rarely is any action for a spouse malicious. Reactions are also rarely malicious. They are usually a sign that there are needs not being met in one or more way.
It is easier to forgive someone if you allow them to be human and make mistakes. It’s also easier to avoid mistakes if you know that you have a forgiving spouse.
Forgiveness is a choice
Whatever you believe about forgiveness, remember that it IS a choice. You have to consciously choose to forgive. No one else is going to do it for you. Even though it seems as though it will be impossible to forgive, you are still choosing to not forgive, or to forgive.
Think about your future. Your spouse hurt you and you’re upset. Over the next few hours/days, think about what you want. Do you want to make things work. Do you want to be upset with your spouse? If the answer is yes, enjoy being angry? I guess? If the answer is no, think about what holding a grudge will do. Will it make things better? No, it won’t. Then think, what do I have to do to make this better? Spoiler alert: Forgive.
Forgiveness in marriage is the beginning of the reconciliation and healing process, not the end. Apologies happen, then forgiveness. But you can choose to forgive before the apology. If you want to make things work, choose forgiveness and begin the healing process.
Put it to rest
Once you forgiven and have processed your emotions, let it be. Do not continue to bring up the issue in unrelated conversations. If the problem persists, that is a different story. Still, try your best to make sure that you are not rubbing the incident in their face to make them feel bad.