SIMPLE TRUTH: 

Spouses do things they should not do and neglect to do things they should do. In marriage, normal problems occur because a couple never communicates perfectly, resolves all disagreements harmoniously or achieves ideal emotional closeness. Marital relationships would be healthier if spouses understood that the forgiveness of sins is a rich blessing and a true gift that they can give to each other.

SERIOUS HURTS:

The most damaging wounds that marriages often suffer come within the context of what is supposed to be the safest place for one’s heart, next to our relationship with God, and that is with our spouse. This is the tragic irony of being hurt by and of hurting those who are loved most deeply.

CHAIN ANALOGY:

Offences against us cause us hurt. We become bound to the offender by the bitterness we harbour in our heart. That bitterness actually sustains the hurt we feel. Mere separation cannot break this bondage – only forgiveness can. The one who was offended then gives the offence, the hurt, the bitterness and the offender to His creator and His perfect will for that person. The chain will then be released.

DAILY MAINTENANCE:

Rather than being viewed as a one-time occurrence, apologising and forgiving continues throughout the life of a relationship for repairing damage that could lead to permanent destruction. The litmus test for a healthy marriage is based on the capability and manifestation of repentance, apologies, and forgiveness on a regular basis.

PROMPT RESOLUTION:

When wrongs  are not healed by prompt apologies and forgiveness, a couple may drift apart, experience relationship deterioration, and perhaps be in the danger of dissolution. 

∙ They are best friends. 

∙ Always there for the you 

THE MUST WITH FORGIVENESS:

Forgiveness is a MUST in healthy long term marriages. It is a process and not an event. It’s an attitude of wanting to partner with your spouse in spite of his or her imperfections and irritations.
Marriage becomes a series of surprises for most of us, and one of them is how frequently we need to forgive and be forgiven.  “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” – Ruth Bell Graham.

I have learned that the best way to live is to decide in advance to be a person who forgives. This became a MUST because not forgiving destroys you and forgiveness sets you free.
Forgiveness is not condoning, which is to simply overlook the wrong as if no harm was intended or done. It would be highly inappropriate to condone a spouse’s sinful behavior. To condone wrongs or “give in” lowers self esteem and undermines your integrity.

We must forgive whether or not our offender asks for our forgiveness. The question is, “If someone has offended me, shouldn’t I wait until he/she asks my forgiveness before I forgive him/her? This may never happen because often a spouse will view an offence differently.

1. Acknowledge or identify your hurt:

Working through pain can only happen once you admit you’ve been hurt. And acknowledging this can intensify the feelings. Tears, feelings of resentment and ruminating thoughts are a good indicator that something’s wrong. Don’t numb yourself or “stuff” the emotion down, as that cuts off the process of forgiving others before it’s even begun.

Start by pinpointing the source of your hurt. Was it a failure, a missed opportunity, a heartbreak, a person who was mean to you, or someone who neglected you? Get to the root of your pain.

2. Consider your hurtful emotions:

What are you feeling? Is it sadness, grief, anger, pity, or loneliness? Or is it something deeper like hate, disgust, jealousy, or depression? The hurt may strike more than one chord on your heart strings, but in order to get rid of the hurt, you need to recognize your feelings toward it.

The word “consider” is key here because it involves thinking before making a decision. Before you decide on whether or not you will forgive this person, consider the negative feelings you’ve acquired since the incident. How has the pain changed you? How detrimental was the person’s mistake to your life or someone else?

3. Forgive yourself and let go:

  • Forgiveness starts from within. You were not the reason that someone hurt you. It’s not your fault. You need to forgive yourself first before you have the capacity to forgive others. Only then are you able to let go of the negative emotions associated with the hurt caused by someone else.
  • Accept that you cannot change the past. No matter how much you wish this pain could be reversed, it’s time to admit to yourself that your anger toward the person won’t redeem what they have done, therefore you must forgive yourself sincerely from your heart. Analysing the issue over and over, throwing blame here and there is not essential to your healing.  It is during this step that you must thoughtfully consider whether or not you want to forgive

4. Breathe in Compassion:

Live in the present. Do not take things personally. Let go of your expectations. Let compassion flow, one breath at a time. First, with yourself, then for the person who hurt you. You need to empathise with that person’s motivations, emotions, and circumstances. You need to challenge yourself to put yourself in that person’s shoes and view the situation from their perspective.

Think about a time when you have had to ask for forgiveness; how did it make you feel? When have you wronged another person, and did they extend forgiveness to you, or withhold it?

5. Be grateful, honest, transparent to yourself ( Inner truth):

  • Forgiveness is one of the most powerful ways to empower personal growth, both for the forgiver and the forgiven. When you let go of the burden of the hurt and all the negative energy of the emotions associated with the hurt, you are given the peace and freedom to live as a better version of yourself. You’re also empowered to transfer that positive energy to the other person and people around you, so that they can become better versions of themselves. Do not be self-centred at this stage. There is always a better version of experiences we go through.
  • Refuse to focus on the negative versions of the hurts, disappointments, pain, heart-aches you have gone through. There is an inner positive meaning that you have gone through at this critical stage of your life. Sound the megaphone and learn well.

6Process / Talk it over:

  • This process is the core to all your hurts, pains, tears, emotional trauma. Make an honest assessment of your reaction to the harm done to you. Do not wear the coat of indifference, making statements like ” I am cool. Do not worry I am okay. Time will heal my wounds. It is not necessary etc”. Be very honest, vocal, plain and straightforward to how you feel. Let your spouse understand in plain language your feelings.
  •   Knowing this will help you keep a realistic perspective as you wade through your feelings and bring to light how you have been hurt or in pain. Understand by voicing out, one way or the other you are also helping yourself immensely.  We all have finite amounts of emotional energy. It isn’t wise to spend it in unprofitable places by stonewalling.
  • Most often, transparency in communicating one’s hurts, pain, or headache can also be done. It might be a daily battle not to accuse the other person over and over in your mind, but to express emotional pain, disappointments as they were.   
  • You will need to reiterate your decision to forgive less and less often, until all traces of anger and hurt eventually disappear. More so, it is not the excuse of spreading your negativism to your spouse with the opinion that you are so “open, honest and straightforward (heart to heart talk). A foundation for communication in the light of being honest is having facts.  
  • Finally, Process comes with the following tit-bits of communicating your hurts, pain, disappointments etc:

And best of all, you don’t need talent or a degree to do any of the things above. We all have an equal basis when it comes to it and those are your ”sincerity, language, your mind and mouth, time to plan, sit and talk. All that happened is all that is needed in this spotlight of ”Process”.

7. Love again with wisdom, understanding and do not easily forget the lessons learnt:

  • Forgiveness lets you love again. Once you forgive, your heart is full of love. You are stronger because you love yourself and love others, no matter the magnitude of their shortcomings or transgressions. You forgive because you love, and you love because you forgive.
  • The process will most likely be uncomfortable and painful, but it will always be worth it in the end.

Healing Wings Support 

Abigail Borquaye

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