Forgiveness can never erase the pains of the past. But it can definitely drive out the darkness, freeing your heart from hate and anger.
When somebody has done you wrong, the first wave of emotions you naturally feel is all about disappointment, anger, and even hate. During this time, you might feel alone in a dark empty room, collecting your thoughts.
“How did it happen?”
“How was I fooled?”
“Why was I wronged?”
“Why do I have to suffer this?”
These are just some of the countless questions you’ll have. You may get answers for them or you may not. But what’s sure is that this phase can be very lonely for you as you try to battle the pains of being wronged.
Trust me on this. I’ve been there, done that.
I was once a selfish man who only thought of myself and my own dreams, despite being married. Well, my wife seemed to be okay with me reaching my ambitions.
But little did I know that she was feeling neglected and disregarded. I admit—upon realizing what I’ve done in the past, I know I paid little attention to what she wanted for “us.” All I thought of was “me,” “mine,” and “my” while she was giving her best efforts to give “us” a good life.
My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me
Then, my wife seemed to have grown tired of me. She had dreams for our family. She had goals for our marriage. And it appeared to her that I wasn’t on the boat.
I was flying my own plane like my family was not under my wings. I felt sorry. I should’ve known better.
I knew I was never ready to be the man of the house or a father back then. I just loved my wife, and that I am 100 percent sure of.
Well, now that I’ve grown, I know there’s more to marriage that I should’ve learned. But I learned it the hard way.
My wife, because she almost lost hope in me, had a boyfriend. It was an online thing, but it is still an act of infidelity. And it hurts—big time.
Before I knew about it, I actually started feeling that my wife didn’t respect me enough. I felt she no longer gave me her undivided attention. Like when we were watching Netflix and I talked about the show, she didn’t respond and she kept on texting using her phone.
She also started giving me the silent treatment when at home. And when we went out, I often caught her staring at other men like I wasn’t even there.
After spotting all these changes in my wife, I knew something was wrong. Then, of course, I took the courage to check her phone while she was in the shower.
I was surprised, shocked, hurt, and disappointed. I read her “I miss you” and “good night” messages to another man.
After seeing all the messages, I asked her promptly who that person was. She didn’t lie. She told me straight it to my face that the guy was, indeed, her boyfriend.
But she swore they hadn’t had sex yet. They had met in an online dating app and had been dating for a month.
She confessed how the guy made her feel appreciated—unlike me, who had always taken her for granted. She cried and I knew she was sorry, but I just couldn’t believe what had happened. I was speechless.
Right at that moment, all thoughts in my mind all boiled down to “there’s no excuse for infidelity.” Of course, I felt anger and hate. I didn’t want to talk to her.
However, as soon as my mind and heart joined together to pick up the pieces of my shattered self, I realized that she is my wife. And I only intend to marry once.
It was painful, yes. But she is still my wife and I love her. So after the wave of negative emotions, I decided to face my new challenge: how can I forgive her?
If you are here because you can relate to my story and you, too, have been wronged by someone dear to you, let me share you the steps I learned in order to forgive my wife. Find below my 6 steps to forgiveness.
6 Steps To Forgiveness
Be open to forgiveness.
Perhaps one of the reasons why people find it hard to forgive is because they think that forgiving someone who caused them pain is equal to letting him/her off the hook. But that’s actually not the case.
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. It’s not an act of excusing a dear person who did you wrong from his/her actions. You forgive to set your heart and mind free and not to pardon anybody from his/her wrongdoings.
Having known what forgiveness is, I realize it’s important to be open to it. It’s the first step to finding reconciliation.
Be willing to forgive and give your heart and soul the chance to heal from the pain. It should make you feel good and should also benefit your well-being.
Remember, forgiveness is known to improve psychological and physical health. Well, the grudges and pains in your heart are troublesome and too difficult to live with everyday. Keeping them all in doesn’t sound healthy, does it?
Make a decision to forgive and trust again.
Once you’ve warmed up to the idea of forgiving the person who has hurt you, the next step is to make the decision to forgive. But if you decide to do it, you must also be willing to trust again, no matter how hard it gets.
Naturally, in the process of forgiveness, the person who wronged you should make the effort of earning your trust back. However, sometimes you might feel that his/her efforts aren’t working enough, giving you doubts about whether he/she really deserves your forgiveness or not.
But my friend, if you made the decision to forgive, then you must also be receptive to trusting again. Your relationship or marriage cannot carry on in the absence of trust. Keep that in mind.
Don’t dig further into the details of his/her sins.
Once you’ve learned all the details of your partner’s sins, you can never unlearn them. And these thoughts will lurk in your head for years—even when you try hard to forget them. This looks unpretty and I’m sure you won’t like it.
Therefore, I strongly recommend that you stay away from asking your spouse or your lover about his/her sins. Don’t dig further into the details of his/her mistakes. Because whatever happens, what’s done is done and you can never reverse it.
Maybe you can ask why he/she did it so you can reflect and find solutions if there are problems in your relationship. Or, if it’s an affair, you might also want to know if your partner was serious about it and how serious it was so that you can know where you stand. However, if you have already taken the path of forgiveness, it’s best not to talk about it unless necessary.
Rebuild trust in your relationship together.
Revitalize your relationship by rebuilding trust together. I know I’ve already talked about being open to trusting earlier, but our fourth step is to rebuild it “together.”
If you’re the one who was wronged, it’s normal for you to feel that your partner needs to please you. He/she has to make you realize that he/she is worth trusting again.
But as someone who’s willing to forgive, you must not play power here. As your partner does his/her best to rectify his/her wrongs, you, on the other hand, should be slowly letting go of all the pains and grudges.
Additionally, it is important for you to assure him/her that in this complicated and difficult situation, you are accepting her efforts. That he/she can trust you. That you are doing all your best to completely forgive as well. And that he/she doesn’t have to worry about you taking revenge for what he/she has done.
Seek emotional support.
Not all of us are strong enough to battle life’s worries by ourselves. That is why the fifth step to forgiveness is to seek emotional support. You don’t have to do it alone.
Talk to your friends or a therapist so you can sort out your thoughts well. Communicating your feelings can help you cope better with the situation.
There are also support groups that are focused on similar problems where you can share your experiences. Sometimes, it feels good to share your thoughts with people who are also facing similar situations. It can make you feel understood, and as a result, you feel better and empowered to fight your own battles.
Self-forgiveness is one of the best gifts you can offer to your pained self. Getting hurt by someone so dear to you is very painful. And during your most down moment, your thoughts can betray you.
You might think that it was your fault for being too naive about what was going on. Or it’s a mistake that you loved the person so much. And unconsciously, you might engage in some forms of “self-punishment” like overeating, not sleeping, and too much drinking or smoking.
I understand that at this point, you are naturally weak and in sorrow. But do not forget to love yourself.
Forgive yourself. You are not perfect. Pain can occur to anyone. Don’t take it all out on yourself.
Forgiveness is more than accepting a “sorry.” It requires acknowledging the pain and anger that came with the wrongdoings of the person you are forgiving. It will never be easy but many of us have done it. Why can’t you?