When two people live together in an intimate relationship, there are always going to be things that happen to cause hurt feelings and anger.
These things may range from minor incidents involving slights and lack of consideration to major ones such as sexual betrayal.
It’s all-too-easy to develop the habit of repeatedly replaying all the wrongs a spouse has committed and then to start feeling victimized. Resentment, blame, anger, and bitterness are heavy burdens that hold us back, weight us down, and keep us stuck in a view of ourselves as victims.
Forgiving a spouse does not mean that you avoid or repress your feelings. it is important that you acknowledge your pain and loss so that you can express your feelings, get them out into the light of day, and let them run a natural, healing course.
Forgiveness is to release one another from being responsible for how we feel. By finding forgiveness , we are then free to let go of our pain. Although it is true that our partner may make us feel upset, we must also recognize that we have the power to let go of our pain.”
Each spouse faces the same choice: Do I hang on to my feelings of hurt and pain or do I forgive my partner? For some spouses, the decision to forgive is viewed as letting a partner off the hook and minimizing the damage the partner has done.
It’s as though they don’t want the partner to see them laughing and having fun because then the partner might not suffer as much emotionally. Thus, the reluctance to forgive can be a way of keeping control and making sure that the partner keeps feeling guilty and miserable over what has happened.
When you feel deeply hurt by your spouse’s words or actions, it takes time to recover from the wound. It’s important to clearly state your feelings to your spouse and to share just how much the words or actions have impacted you. It’s also important to consider whether the deed was one caused inadvertently by lack of awareness or lack of knowledge or if it was deliberate.
To forgive a spouse is not the same as minimizing hurtful or harmful behavior . It’s also not about pretending things are fine when they aren’t. The goal is not to flash a fake smile and say “That’s okay” when you’re feeling like you’ve been stabbed in the heart.
But there’s a major difference between feeling hurt and struggling to regroup for a few weeks or months versus still being consumed with anger, resentment, and bitterness a year later.
The following statements may help you to recognize if you’re ready to forgive and let go:
You forgive when you have a stronger desire to move toward health, healing, and wholeness than you do to keep singing your “She did me wrong” or “Poor Me” theme songs.
You forgive when you are tired of being stuck in the emotional and spiritual desert of despair, anger, bitterness, revenge, and resentment.
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