Should you always forgive your spouse? I think you should. Even if something awful happened—infidelity, a serious betrayal or a hurtful mistake—you should forgive. Crazy idea? Maybe. But it’s the best idea. Is it easy to do? Not by a long shot. Forgiveness is rarely easy. It may be one of the toughest things you ever have to do during your marriage.
You see, when we get hurt, forgiveness isn’t the first thing on our minds or hearts. We are sad and angry. We want the person who did us wrong to suffer, too. We want them to feel our pain. And although feeling like that initially isn’t all that harmful, feeling like that long after you’ve been hurt is dangerous.
So why are we walking around with this pain instead of letting it go and forgiving? Because we don’t think the other person deserves our exoneration.
But forgiveness isn’t about the other person. It never is. Forgiveness is about accepting the situation because you deserve to move on from it and find joy again. If you find yourself in a position to forgive someone, but doing so almost feels impossible, read these three major reasons to forgive your spouse.
It will liberate you
Being able to forgive is one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself. Holding on to past hurt and pain only leaves you feeling trapped. No good can ever come from it.
When you hold on to feelings of betrayal, hurt and bitterness for long, it starts to eat away at who you are and how you live your life. Failing to forgive eats away at your joy and turns you into a person you barely recognize. And the scary part is, you rarely notice the changes right away. The pain becomes a part of who you are, and you don’t even notice you’re becoming someone else.
Being angry about the past won’t change it. Feeling hurt and betrayed every day has no impact on what someone did to you. All those emotions leave you stuck in a cycle that chips away at who you once were and who you can be. But once you forgive, the weight begins to lift. Forgiveness makes you feel lighter—it allows you to breathe.
It will grant your peace
Pain, hurt, anger, frustration and sadness are all peace robbers. These emotions rob you of the peace of mind you need and deserve to live a happy life. When you forgive your spouse, you are able to release all of these emotions and make room for peace once again.
But even after forgiveness, what if remaining in a situation also destroys your peace? Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are saying what the other person did was okay. You can forgive someone for what he or she did, and still ask that person to walk out of your life. Forgiveness is about what you need so you can move on. It’s not about what the other person wants or needs.
You can let go of all the emotions weighing you down by forgiving and finding your way back to peace. I remember Oprah Winfrey once saying, “forgiveness is giving up the hope the past could have been any different.” I love that quote because once you are able to release that hope, you make room for peace to enter your life.
It will help you absolve yourself
Having the ability to forgive others helps us express more kindness toward ourselves. It’s unbelievable how much people hold on to their own past mistakes, feeling stuck and unable to move on. We all make mistakes in life. We all mess up. Holding on to that doesn’t serve you well, and it has a negative impact on every area of your life.
Think about it. Do you still assign doubt or shame to yourself because of a bad decision you made years ago? When you are able to forgive others—even those who have hurt you the most—it serves as a reminder to do the same for yourself. You deserve forgiveness, too. The more you are able to give it, the more you will receive it from yourself and others.
BMWK family, what are your thoughts on forgiving your spouse? Is there an act too grave, for which you could never forgive?