Get Past the Pain By Learning to Forgive
To begin a discussion on Forgiveness, we must first understand and acknowledge that many of you feel hurt and angry, scared and/or confused and have felt that way for a long time. It is vital, however, to recognize that your partner feels the same way. Though you may feel like you are the wronged party, I can all but guarantee that they feel the same. Consequently, before we can even begin to work on the relationship, we must first forgive our partners and ourselves for the state of the relationship we find ourselves in today. Let me say that again: regardless of who made which mistakes, who is right or wrong - both of you are equally responsible for the relationship as it exists today. Recognizing this and then moving on, is the first step in beginning to heal.
Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to forgive because it feels as if to forgive is to condone a behavior. It is not. It is simply an understanding that there may have been painful circumstances or suffering that contributed to that person’s actions. In other words, it is understanding that the angry party’s feelings have less to do with the person they are yelling at and more to do with what that individual is feeling themselves. This can make it easier to choose to pardon the behavior. Having an understanding of and compassion for what drove the person to their transgression can go a long way toward helping one forgive.
When we refuse to forgive, we keep the past alive in our thoughts. These thoughts can be so vivid that we feel as if the pain is re-occurring over and over in the present moment. But in the end, who does that hurt? By repeatedly focusing on the pain from a past experience, you continue to relive it and often times expand upon it. Not only do you allow the pain from the past to continue to damage the relationship, you choose to let it repeatedly damage you.
Actress and comedienne, Lily Tomlin, said simply:
“Forgiveness means giving
up all hope of a better past.”
Notice that the decision to forgive is not contingent on an apology, or even on a promise to never do it again. It is simply a decision to let go of the past and focus on the future.
People sometimes struggle with this because they’re waiting for a guarantee that the behavior will never happen again before they’re willing to forgive. Unfortunately, as none of us are fortune-tellers, we cannot predict the future and therefore, cannot offer this guarantee. Forgiveness is simply a willingness to let go of the past and move forward.
Finally, I want to end with one of the most important Golden Rules of Marriage
You must give in your marriage
what you want to receive.
If you want to be trusted, you must trust. If you want kindness, you must be kind. If you want to be forgiven, you must forgive. And most importantly, if you want to be loved, you must give love.
For more information on the Golden Rule of Marriage, check out What the Beatles Knew About Marriage.
To learn more about Forgiveness using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.
Are you having trouble forgiving? How can we help? Please comment below.
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com
We Offer The Best Couples Therapy Here. Visit http://strongmarriagenow.com