Forgiveness Heals Relationships
It is inevitable that you will be hurt in a love relationship, in fact, the closer your relationship the greater your chances of hurting each other. Little hurts will happen often. She doesn’t listen when you want to share something important. He is home late from work. You judge each other and say things that you regret. Resentment builds and the relationship becomes strained.
The building resentment starts to poison your relationship. You begin to avoid spending time with each other. You start criticizing your partner to others. You may reject your partner’s efforts to reconnect. If this resentment is left unchecked separation and divorce too often are the result.
The fact that you feel hurt in your relationship does not mean that your relationship is doomed. Even a healthy relationship has its hic-ups. What helps to keep the relationship healthy is the willingness to forgive and let go of the hurt.
It is also critical to be aware that some of the pain you feel may be the result of emotional wounds inflicted in childhood or in previous relationships. Forgiving those who have harmed you in the past can free you to be more fully present in your current relationship.
For those who struggle with forgiving, it is helpful to remember that forgiving does not equal letting those who have hurt you get away with it. It also does not mean becoming a doormat or continuing to put up with abusive treatment. Forgiveness does not mean that you want to reconcile. Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries goes hand-in-hand with forgiveness.
Steps to forgiveness:
- Allow yourself time. You may not feel ready to forgive just yet. Forgiveness is often more a process than an event.
- Talk it out. Talk to the person who has hurt you, if possible. If not, talk to a trusted friend or therapist. Accept and share your feelings; be compassionate toward yourself. You have a right to feel however you feel.
- Request change. Set or strengthen your boundaries to reduce the possibility of repeating the hurt.
- Stop torturing yourself. Stop rehashing and replaying what happened over and over in your mind. Find ways to change your focus to how you want your life to be. Find healthy ways to distract yourself from focusing on the hurt.
- Choose to forgive. You do not have to completely understand how it works. But you do have to be willing to let go.
Forgiveness is a choice that you make, not because the other person deserves to be forgiven, but because you deserve to be free of resentment and bitterness.