You’ve been in your relationship for years, and although you’ve made mistakes, you believe they are pretty minor compared to the devastating mistakes you’ve accepted from your spouse.
Maybe she cheated on you.
Maybe he squandered away a huge chunk of your savings.
Or maybe, it’s a long list of smaller issues that have you realizing this relationship is not what you bargained for.
But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter how much you’ve been wronged.
And I don’t say that to be insensitive or to diminish the depths of your pain. When someone you love and trust hurts you, that pain is real.
But regardless of how painful it is, you still have to forgive your mate. Even if what he did was horrible, forgiveness is necessary.
Well, I’m not suggesting that forgiveness is easy (it rarely is), but I know that in order for you to have the quality of life that you deserve, forgiveness is a must.
It’s hurting you more than you know.
When you refuse to forgive someone for what he did, it can initially feel like it’s about that person. You want him to hurt at least half as much as he’s hurt you. But with time, you have to realize that failing to forgive hurts you far more than it hurts anyone else. All of that pain and bitterness is damaging your health and preventing you from moving on with your life. It’s even impacting the type of parent and friend you are.
Forgiveness is never about the person that caused the pain. It’s about releasing yourself from the pain so you can eventually move on with your life. By forgiving, you give yourself permission to let go of how you wish things turned out as well as the pain associated with how things did turn out.
It’s not about approval.
Often times, people have trouble forgiving because they believe that forgiveness somehow sends a message that what the other person did is okay. That isn’t true, though. Forgiveness is not acceptance.
It does not mean that you somehow approve of or condone what was done to you. It simply means that you’ve processed the pain and you’ve accepted the fact that you cannot change the past. It also means that you’ve accepted the impact that the wrongdoing has had on your life and you are ready to take steps towards moving forward.
Dr. George James, BMWK Infidelity Expert and marriage and family therapist, says that as you move forward in forgiveness, it releases you and you’ll see that your anger and hurt will start to decline over time as you take steps to move forward. He says:
“So people who tried to retaliate, clients of mine, that’s what they said, that they felt it even worse. Accountability is saying, “Even though I feel this pain, I’m not going to retaliate,” or “Even though I’m filled with rage and anger,” outside of maybe a moment when you acted out in the beginning, that you’re not gonna slash the tires again, that you’re not going to try to get your partner fired, that you’re not going to constantly watch your partner’s every move. Now that might be what you do in this phase of reestablishing trust, but as you move forward, that’s something that you really start to decline.”
It liberates you.
When you are unable to forgive, it leaves you in bondage. You are stuck in the same space, unable to move forward. It’s like you are reliving the pain you experienced. When you are finally able to forgive, it feels liberating. You are no longer stuck in past, hoping you could change what happened. The pain no longer burdens you. Forgiveness releases you from the bondage and allows you to take appropriate steps towards healing and moving on with the life you deserve to live.
Forgiveness can be emotionally challenging and draining, but it allows you to find peace and comfort. By forgiving others and yourself, you acknowledge that as human beings, we all come up short. And remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’ve given anyone an open invitation to hurt you. If the pain is too much, you can choose to forgive but still walk away.
Although forgiveness doesn’t fix everything or erase your painful memories, it does make the room for you to move on to happier days.
BMWK family, what has allowed you to forgive your spouse after you’ve been hurt?