Even the best of marriages have their moments. He won’t pick up his clothes. She’s late again. Couples can spend much of their time holding grudges and gripping, or they can stop expecting perfection and practice forgiveness.
Forgiveness allows you to transcend from victim into someone who is in control. It helps prevent you from becoming one of the walking wounded. (“He/she always …” insert eye roll)Forgiveness provides you with the opportunity to acknowledge your feelings (annoyance) and move on to a more positive mindset.
What If The Offense Is Serious?
A pair of socks left on the floor is one thing. But what if your partner has been meeting an old romantic friend for lunch and has failed to mention this to you. Even if the partner acknowledges the misdeed and promises it won’t happen again, can you forgive?
Under these circumstances, many wronged partners simply shut down. The silent treatment rules, and sex becomes a distant memory – or a quick obligation. How does one regain the trust that is now lost?
Holding On To Grudges
The problem with holding on to resentments is that they can eventually erode the entire relationship. It ceases to be about socks or lunches. Unexpressed anger keeps building up, and other small offenses now become major transgressions. Any essential trust just keeps eroding. The wronged spouse can become overwhelmed with a negative mindset that is gradually eating away at the relationship.
The ability to forgive can greatly improve communication between a couple and the relationship in general as it reduces resentment and mistrust.
Frequently, an honest discussion can help with lagging trust issues. If necessary, a professional counselor can prove helpful. Both parties may be looking at the situation from different – and unexpressed – points of view. For example, what if the partner that failed to mention the lunches did so because of previous unreasonable jealous behavior. He or she was merely trying to avoid an unnecessary argument, not hide some noontime tryst.
After an honest discussion, perhaps both parties can acknowledge their part in the misunderstanding. The lunchtime meetings should not have been hidden, and the offended spouse did not need to assume the worse.
When trust is re-established, forgiveness becomes easy. The offended party can regard the lunches as an error in judgment and nothing more.
Many missteps in a relationship are entirely accidental and mainly due to a lack of communication. If the couple continues to not properly communicate, the marriage could be in serious trouble.
The Importance of Forgiveness
Many people view forgiveness as condoning wrongdoing. However, when you are in a relationship, forgiveness is a sign of goodwill. You are declaring that you will believe the best of him or her rather than the worst. That makes letting go of minor transgressions much easier.
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself to enjoy a relationship without constant doubts and resentments. You refuse to become the victim of unresolved conflicts. Forgiveness is surely beneficial to the marriage, but it is mainly for yourself and your own refusal to be controlled by negative thinking.
How To Forgive In A Marriage
Here are some tips on how to use forgiveness to improve your marriage:
- Make a written list of the negative emotions that are affecting your relationship.
- Learn ways to deal with negative emotions instead of letting them build up. This can include counseling, yoga, meditation, and increased self-care.
- There are two people in your marriage. Take responsibility for your part in the marital dynamics. This will establish benevolence, make your partner feel understood, open up the lines to further communications, and allow both of you to move on.
- Don’t allow resentment to linger. Deal with what happened, accept, forgive, and let go to build an even strong marriage.
- People make mistakes. Accept that no one is perfect and choose compassion over resentment. Forgive your partner’s imperfections instead of focusing on them. Letting go of anger frees you from remaining a victim.
- Even when there are no discernable problems, it can be helpful to set aside established times to discuss the relationship. Work on reassurance and love and nip any hurt feelings in the bud. Don’t forget to express appreciation, as well. For example, “I love you for taking the kids to brunch on Sundays.” When the overall picture is one of love, forgiveness for the small things flows a lot smoother.
Forgiveness takes Courage
Admitting to your partner that you are hurt takes courage, and it opens the door to forgiveness. It allows the partner to explain his or her side, apologize, and reassure you of his or her love. This put you in control of the situation. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but for the health of any relationship, it becomes a necessary ingredient.
When you forgive someone, it leads to honesty and trust. These are necessary attributes to any happy and satisfying marriage.
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