All couples eventually experience times of conflict, hurt, and letting each other down. Sometimes the offense is as minor as forgetting a date or failing to run an errand. For some couples, the offense might involve a major betrayal such as infidelity, addiction, or abuse. Either way, taking time to seek and grant forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing and restoring the relationship.
Forgiveness is the decision or choice to give up the right for vengeance, retribution and negative thoughts toward an offender in order to be free from anger and resentment. This process promotes healing and restoration of inner peace, and it can allow reconciliation to take place in the relationship.
It is important to be clear about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not forgetting, condoning or perpetuating injustice. Since it is sometimes unsafe or impossible, forgiveness does not always involve reconciliation. Forgiveness is not always quick; it is a process that can take time to unfold. Don’t rush your partner if they need to spend days or weeks working through the process of granting forgiveness.
Six Steps for Granting Forgiveness:
- Acknowledge your pain and anger. Allow yourself to feel disrespected.
- Be specific about your future expectations and limits.
- Give up your right to “get even,” but insist on being treated better in the future.
- Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity toward your partner.
- Communicate your act of forgiveness to your partner.
- Work toward reconciliation (when safe).
Material used with permission of PREPARE/ENRICH.
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