A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
Now that’s a statement worth hanging on the wall!
For some of us though, the issue of forgiveness can seem like a place of vulnerability & weakness which just seems to excuse bad behaviour, especially if it’s the same old issue that just keeps returning over and over again.The art of managing offense is a very important part of growing as a couple that can strengthen your relationship and cause amazing growth in your marriage.
As we come around Easter I’m reminded of the meaning of this season, which really is all about compassion, love, and sacrifice – it’s that kind of love that invites us to utter beautiful words of commitment on our wedding day like – to love and to cherish – for better or worse – for richer or poorer – in sickness and in health – till death do us part.
Yet these words really get put to the test when we are hurt, angry and disappointed with each other, often making forgiveness the furthest thing from our minds. Maybe your partner has hurt you, and you feel justified in your anger. You might feel they don’t deserve your forgiveness, and that could be true, but do you deserve to carry yesterday’s emotional baggage around with you today (and tomorrow)?
The truth is we are all guilty of hurting people at different times, and to learn to extend grace and receive it is an essential part of living in freedom!
• Forgiveness is the gift you give firstly to yourself because you deserve to be free
• Forgiveness is giving your relationship a fresh start
• Forgiveness is an opportunity to lay down your weapons and learn something new about your spouse
• Forgiveness is a CHOICE!
When we choose NOT to forgive, the damage is destructive, leaving wounded hearts, emotional disconnection and broken trust which not only impacts your marriage but everyone around you. There’s a huge cost when we choose to hold on!
Next time you find yourself hurt and wounded from a disagreement, give yourself time to calm down and arrange a time with your partner where you can discuss the issue, with the goal of not getting back into the argument, but to learn and grow as a couple. Having a growth mentality is always a great idea!
Try this approach:
1. Describe how the incident felt from both of your perspectives without blame or criticism
2. Explore and see if there were any other things going on that set you up for the miscommunication (eg. tiredness, stress at work, triggers from the past)
3. Take responsibility for your role in contributing to the disagreement and apologise (it really does take two to tango)
4. Examine what you both could do differently to avoid an incident like this from occurring again
5. Forgive, forgive and forgive (REPEAT)
Let’s face it, the idea of putting two completely different people together with different personalities, different backgrounds, and different likes and dislikes does conjure up a million ways that things could go wrong. Yet it also provides the invitation to surrender our stubbornness, dig deeply for grace and show the kind of commitment that makes Hollywood romance movies look shallow.
A healthy marriage requires a commitment to forgive over and over again!
For many people the topic of forgiveness can feel frightening and feel quite unattainable because of years of accumulated hurt.If you do feel that you need help to deal with the past, make an appointment with a professional and get the support you need.It never feels like the right time to forgive, but can I tell you, the time is now!
P.S. You deserve it!