All marriages have flaws. When you combine two imperfect beings, it can only result in an imperfect marriage. But relationships are not meant to be perfect. They are meant to be enjoyed, experienced and loved despite their imperfections.
So, if we know that we are getting into, then why is it so hard to forgive our spouses every time they make a mistake? According to this article from Huffingtonpost, forgiving is hard for many people because the human consciousness has a difficult time living in the present.
You still need to learn to forgive if you want to make your marriage last.
Steps to Forgiveness in Marriage
Take a look at your spouse.
Depending on the gravity of the fault, you may or may not be able to look directly at your husband’s or wife’s eyes. But if you are attempting true forgiveness, you must do this very first step.
This does not only mean physically looking at your spouse. It also means realizing and reminding yourself that the person in front of you is the one that you married. The person who just happened to make a mistake is the one you chose to be with for the rest of your life.
Once you remember how important this person is to your life, you can then tell yourself that you cannot afford to lose this person who somehow committed a blunder. It will not make the forgiveness any less hard, but you can be sure that you will eventually forgive your spouse.
Acknowledge the hurt.
Have you ever felt so hurt that you unknowingly placed walls around you? You say that you will never allow yourself to experience the same pain ever again. You want to be strong despite what happened.
Even if you have not forgiven your spouse yet, you have already created guards, not grasping the fact that your emotions are still healing.
To be able to fully forgive your spouse, you must acknowledge the pain inside you first. Yes, you have been hurt. Yes, your husband or wife made a mistake. And yes, your heart is aching right now. It is okay. You will be fine. But for now, acknowledge the ache.
Know that your joy is not dependent on your spouse.
Another way to make the path to forgiveness a little easier is by standing firm on the fact that your joy is not dependent on your spouse.
You can always be happy with your spouse. That is because happiness is an emotion that you feel. It fluctuates depending on what your current circumstance is. It is different from having a heart of joy.
Joy is an attitude that you can have. Even if you are undergoing different trials and obstacles in life, you can still find joy in your life. It is more beneficial to seek joy, and it is less transitory than happiness.
Once you have an attitude of joy, you can be more rational in your current situation. You can also have a more forgiving attitude.
Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes.
Although you know fully that you will not offend your spouse the way he or she did to you, you can make forgiveness easier if you put yourself in your husband’s or wife’s position.
Think of it this way—if you are the one who committed a mistake, how would you want your spouse to behave? Do you want to be forgiven? Do you want your spouse to make things hard for you?
Cure the pain.
The first step to a healing heart is an understanding of the pain that you are going through. If you know that you are in pain, it will be easier to cure and give a treatment to it.
You have a lot of options to cure the pain. First is just letting it go. By letting the offense go, you are concluding that your relationship is far more important than the hurt that you felt. It does not mean that you are just forgetting what he or she did, but you are willing to let it go for the sake of your spouse.
Second is resolution. You can decide that the only way to resolve the issue is by letting your spouse make up for it. Since you are the one who is aggrieved, you can set the duration and the penalty for what your spouse did. But take note, however, that you should still be just in resolving the problem. You cannot be overly unfair in asking favors from your husband or wife.
The third is by giving forgiveness on the condition that your spouse will never do it again. It is a sort of ultimatum for him or her. This is especially true for those who participated in extramarital affairs. Some husbands or wives would not agree to let the offense slide even once. But it depends on the severity and level of infidelity.
Continue to forgive your spouse.
Sometimes, even if you have already forgiven your spouse, the past will come up and make you remember the things that he or she did. Remind yourself that these mistakes are all in the past and that you already forgave him or her a long time ago.
If the errors in your marriage still creep back, you should just continue forgiving your spouse. It is not about what he did or what he is doing anymore; it is about the act of forgiveness.
You are forgiving your spouse not because of the things that he is still doing, but because you want to build a relationship with him or her without developing any hate or remorse from past mistakes.
Ask your spouse what really happened.
If you have established the stability of your heart despite what happened, you can gently approach your spouse and ask him or her what really happened.
He or she may answer you with the obvious statement that it was his or her fault that your marriage was shaken and disturbed. Your spouse may also admit to a lot of past mistakes in order to make the restoration full.
But you can also use the opportunity to analyze your marriage and see if you also made errors of your own that may have caused your spouse to stumble. Will this turn the tables around? Definitely not.
Instead, it will lead to a more mature relationship and a higher level of your marriage. You can ask for forgiveness for your flaws and be more compassionate for the mishaps of your spouse.
Set realistic expectations for your marriage.
As previously mentioned, marriages are not perfect. Your expectations should reflect this. Aside from infidelity and moral disloyalty, you cannot expect your spouse to be ideally perfect. He or she will regularly make mistakes and you will need to continuously forgive your spouse.
Is it wrong to have expectations your spouse? Definitely not. You should expect your spouse to treat your marriage with the utmost respect and love. You can also expect that he or she will not leave you and go with somebody else. You also believe that your spouse will love your children the way he or she loves you.
What are the things that you can stop expecting from your spouse? He or she is not expected to be honest with you all the time—at least on the superficial level. You cannot expect him or her to always text and call you every time especially during times of work.
Set your own pace.
Do not listen to the world when it says that you must forgive readily. You must, instead, do this at your own pace. Forgiveness is very difficult to give, especially if you have been deeply hurt.
If you think that you cannot forgive your spouse yet, then don’t. A half-meant forgiveness is just the same as a half-meant sorry. Just care for your heart and be sure to follow the steps of forgiveness in marriage to make the whole process smoother and easier.
Marriages are built on different pillars, one of which is forgiveness. To ask and to give forgiveness are both parts of having a lasting relationship in marriage.
It can be very difficult to forgive, especially at the start. But with time, you will find in yourself to forgive your spouse for faults and mishaps that he or she does. Always look beyond the mistake of your husband or wife and look forward to restoring the marriage.