Relationship advice: Forgiving your significant other
In a relationship things happen. Anything that is based on actions of humans is going to be flawed because no one is perfect. Becuase of this we have a process called forgiveness.
People aren’t perfect no matter how much we wish they were. We were all made with flaws. Spouses are human, and though we expect them to be perfect, there are occasions when they are going to let us down. Since we rely so heavily on them it can sometimes be very difficult to forgive a spouse. There are two main steps in forgiveness; forgiving and forgetting.
First, you can’t forget until have completely forgiven. This is the first step to getting back to where you used to be. However, you need to determine if the act is forgivable. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to determine this question for your situation.
Can you forgive your spouse for this act? You can not answer this based on what others have done before. Only you can determine in what ways this will affect you. If you can’t see yourself getting over this and moving on, then you need to acknowledge that and deal with it. An important thing to remember is that if you decide to try and forgive your spouse, knowing how this affects you, you will still be dealing with this on the inside ten years from now. This can ignored frustration can be fatal to a marriage.
Is it over? This is another question you have to know the answer to. Has your spouse stopped what was going on? Let me give you an example. Your spouse is late all of the time and apologizes but never seeks to correct the problem. They come home late again and apologize. It is a waste of your time to forgive them for something they are going to make you forgive again. The problem is not this one time. The bigger problem is the constant tardiness. Now, tardiness isn’t a big deal for most of us, but say your spouse wants you to forgive an affair. You should ask yourself, has it stopped. Discuss it if you have to, but make sure that you aren’t wasting your time.
Does your spouse understand what they did wrong? Now, that you know you can forgive them, are they worthy of forgiveness? Sometimes when we get mad at someone, we are not really mad about what they just did. We may be mad for a while about something else and it just came out at that moment. Also when we get mad because our spouse drank the last Pepsi, it isn’t really about the last Pepsi. We are mad either because they didn’t share, or they didn’t consult us. If they apologize for drinking the last Pepsi, and didn’t understand that you were mad about the fact that they didn’t get your opinion, then you will have to forgive them again for deciding to let your in-laws stay the weekend and not consulting you. Do you see how important it is to get to the bottom of things?
Is he sorry? This is the most important question. Is he sincere? He may say sorry, but actions speak louder than words. Does he act like he’s sorry? Has he taken any actions to correct his mistake, assuming the mistake is correctable? Also, does he try to play the blame game? If tries to take as much responsibility off of his shoulders as he can, he may not be sorry. How can one be sorry for something they don’t think they are responsible for?
Now, that we have asked ourselves these important questions, it is mostly up to us. We must go through the process of forgetting. This is sometimes the most difficult task of the forgiveness process. We must train ourselves to forget, because it is not in our nature. Here are rules to remember when it comes to forgetting.
You have no right to retaliate. You gave up those rights when you decided to forgive your spouse. You have to remember that you made the decision to forgive not your spouse. If you retaliate it is proof that you haven’t forgiven this person in the place it counts the most. Your heart. This retaliation can go on forever between you and your spouse, and after a while it won’t even matter who started it. Don’t sink down to that level.
You can’t bring it up. It’s forgotten. It’s not there anymore because you have forgotten. You can not get past something if you keep brining it up. Not only will this keep upsetting you, but it will upset your spouse as well. If your spouse is truly sorry they are going to feel guilty every time you bring it up. People can’t live that way. We should not have to deal with guilt every day of our lives, especially when the act is supposed to have been forgiven. If you continue to bring it up, you might end up alone.
Don’t hold it against them. You can not use this as an excuse. Many times we think we have moved on, but when it suits us we use it to our advantage. We tell ourselves that it is ok for us to do this or that after what they have done to us. This is completely the wrong attitude. In most cases we are doing something we would have done otherwise except that we have an excuse to ease our conscience.
Learn to trust again. The last step to forgiveness is to learn how to trust them again. This does not come quickly or easily. However, if we have come up with all the right answers and follow all of the rules, we can eventually get to the point that trust is no longer an issue. This does rely on your partner earning their trust again, but you have to allow them to earn it. You can’t keep such a tight hold on them that they never have the chance to prove their loyalty. This will suffocate your relationship and may put the flame out all together. Forgiveness can be reached if you are both willing to put in the effort.