Forgiveness is vital for establishing a long lasting relationship. I call it the oil that refreshes, blends and revitalizes a relationship no matter how bad things have been, if only both partners would allow themselves to heal and to let go of any hurt.
It is a gift that a partner must be willing to give freely and willingly. In simple terms, it is a way of giving up your right to hold a grudge against your partner. The below are steps that can help in facilitating forgiveness in relationships.
Decide to forgive
You would have to make a decision to forgive your partner. Sometimes you may not feel like forgiving your partner because you are hurt or still in anger. This feeling may still be experienced because you want to pay him or her back for what he or she has done.
However, once you decide to let go, there would always be a chance to overcome the hurt and anger that has been harboured because of the hurt. Loreen (a married woman for ten years) had this to say ‘any time my husband offends me, I try to remember the number of times I have offended him too. This allows me to quickly make a decision to let go, though I talk to him first, to make him aware of his offense‘.
§ Talk about your feelings
After your partner accepts a mistake and has apologized and asked for forgiveness; you must decide to let go. In order to forgive and forget, you would have to talk about the issue with your partner.
Sometimes partners are not able to totally forgive each other because they may still have questions that have to be answered. Answering some of these questions, may bring a closure to the hurt and eventually forgiveness.
You should allow each other to express their feelings, to be heard and to ensure that you understand each other. All these are very essential in ensuring that you move on.
Alfred (a married man for fifteen years) said this ‘as men we do not talk much but women should try and listen to our side of the story whenever there are disagreements or hurts, it helps with forgiveness in relationships. Men should also be heard just as women are allowed to speak their minds’.
§ Make adjustment if necessary
What is important here is to try and make all the necessary arrangements or adjustments that would help to avoid committing the same mistakes that lead to offences. This is particularly essential when the offence keeps re-occurring.
Doing this would help to avoid future disappointments and disagreements. For instance your partner spoke harshly to you, when you were among your friends because you tried to pick on him. This led to a heated argument and exchange of harsh words.
The question is, what do you do, in order not to hurt each other in such a manner again. You may decide not to pick on each other when you are among other people. It may not be easy, but you would have to cope with such an arrangement for the sake of your relationship.
Stacy confesses that ‘any time I am driving and my husband is seated by me, we always argue and exchange harsh words which always leads to unnecessary hurts. To put an end to this, I decided not to comment on anything he says whenever I am driving. He also decided to be careful with his words. Since we decided on this, we hardly quarrel when I am driving’.
§ Let go of past hurts
Thinking about past hurts would not allow you to forgive easily. It is always better to focus on the positive side of your relationship. You can focus on some of the memorable places you have been or the happy times you have spent together as a couple.
Always remember that the one who is closer to you is more likely to hurt you, simply because he or she is closer. If you have a habit of dwelling on past hurts you would never enjoy your relationship. You can always talk to a marriage counselor or a pastor whenever you need help with this.
§ Give yourself time
Deciding to forgive does not necessary mean that you can easily forget all that happened or do away with the pain easily especially depending on the issue at hand. It is important to admit that there are different degrees of hurts depending on the harm that has been caused. With time you would be healed of any pain or hurts if only you would allow yourself and let go of the past.