No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. And no matter how hard we try, there’s going to be a time we disappoint someone we care deeply for.
And when that occurs in marriage or in a significant relationship, it’s easy to let pain and wounds fester and continue to bring them up again.and. again. and again. Or maybe you silently fume about all the wrongs, all the things they don’t do, and you refuse to bring your frustrations into the “light of day”.
In therapy terms, we’d call that unforgiveness and we’d say it can make your relationship toxic. In addition, unrelenting anger doesn’t help your own mental health.
Often, we think forgiveness means saying it’s okay how someone else has treated you. That’s not it at all. Instead, it’s choosing to let go of a fault, to move beyond a hurtful word, to see the best in a spouse/significant other when they aren’t being their best self.
When we accept the limitations and character flaws of others and their inability to meet all of our expectations, we can offer forgiveness.
- Acknowledge the pain
- Let go of resentment
- Set boundaries
- Give up the right to retaliate
- Take responsibility for your part
- Think, Take a Breath, Sleep on it BEFORE responding
Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you or condoning of their action. What you are after is to find peace and for past wounds to not affect you as severely as they once did.