One of the most common misconceptions about forgiveness is that it’s an act of relieving someone of responsibility for hurting you. The words “I forgive you” take on an almost magical property, suggesting that the hurtful act is in the past and that everything can go back to the way it was before. But that’s not really what forgiveness is about.
Forgiveness is a process that starts with the decision not to hold on to anger or bitterness. When you forgive someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re excusing the hurtful act or pretending that it never happened, it just means that you’re opening yourself up to empathize with the other person and working with that person to move forward.
The Role of Forgiveness in Relationships
Learning to forgive is essential to a healthy relationship. First of all, failure to forgive can lead to one or both people in the relationship bottling up their emotions until the next big fight, at which point anger comes to the surface and one partner uses the other’s past perceived wrongs as leverage to put their significant other down and “win” the argument. Keeping score like this can lead to major relationship issues and make it difficult for partners to communicate effectively.
Another reason that forgiveness is valuable is because it requires partners to actively think about their relationship. When you decide to forgive someone, you have to think about what you are upset about, how the other person is feeling, and the long-term consequences of either forgiving them or withholding forgiveness. It’s not always easy to forgive someone, especially when their words or actions have hurt you deeply, but being able to forgive shows that you’re able to take your partner’s emotions into account and get past the immediate pain in an effort to pursue a more meaningful relationship.
Of course, it’s not always easy to forgive, especially if your partner has betrayed your trust by having an affair. If you want to make your relationship work but find yourself struggling to forgive, consider trying Houston marriage counseling. Learn how to better communicate and begin rebuilding trust with your partner.