for·give verb \f?r-?giv, fo?r-\
: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)- Merriam Webster
At some point in your marriage your spouse will hurt you, usually unintentionally, but we are human and sometimes that humanness gets in the way and we hurt one another through words or actions. In order to move past the pain and hurt we have to forgive one another.
The definition of forgiveness lets us know what forgiveness is, but often in tackling the difficult topic of forgiveness it becomes muddled by everything that forgiveness is not. We’ve added myths about forgiveness to the definition that do more harm than good. Myths like…
Forgiveness is immediate Ideally you would say “I forgive you” once, then move on and get over it. That’s the ideal, but it’s not quite human and it doesn’t work for every wrong. More often, forgiveness is a process that you have to go through instead of a statement you make once. You may find yourself thinking you’ve moved past something and without warning, anger will once again rear its ugly head. You might have to look inside yourself and release something again that you already thought you had let go, learning to forgive over again for the same offense. You have to remember this as the one being forgiven as well: Just because your spouse forgives you doesn’t mean that you won’t have to deal with the fallout from his or her pain.
Forgiveness means ignoring the problem We always want to move forward and make things like they were before. But because resentment is out of the way doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem that needs to be dealt with. Forgiveness doesn’t absolve you of having to do the work. Instead it’s the stepping stone for the work to begin. It’s hard to move forward if you are still mired in anger, but at the same time, you can’t walk around wearing blinders if you want to be able to move forward at all, or keep that same hurt from happening again.
Forgiveness always means reconciliation I know that some believe otherwise, but I do believe that there are a few situations that couples cannot work through. I do not believe that marriage is a lifetime sentence to being another person’s punching bag. You can still choose to forgive even if you have to walk away. Forgiveness is not always an invitation to allow someone back in right away, or ever. Instead, just like the definition says, forgiveness is a way to let go of anger without harboring ill will that can end up hurting you in the long run.
BMWK: Do you agree with these forgiveness myths? Do you have any to add?