Forgiveness in marriage is rarely an easy task, and forgiveness in marriage can be particularly daunting at times. If you know that you need to forgive your spouse but are finding that it’s much more difficult than you thought, here are a few tips that could prove helpful.
Forgiveness Is About Balance
One of the most poignant points to keep in mind that is that forgiveness requires looking at the strong side of your spouse’s weakness. It’s important to realize that everyone has weaknesses and strengths. In order to truly forgive, we have to keep our partners’ strengths in clear view, even though their weaknesses are much easier to see when they are behaving in a way that is causing strain and unhappiness in the relationship.
For example, if your spouse is giving you a hard time for quitting a job that you can’t stand, he/she may say hurtful things to insult your intelligence and make you feel guilty about putting the family under financial strain. Even after your spouse says these things, he/she may come to you and apologize. Your partner may also ask for your forgiveness.
Of course, it will be difficult for you to overlook the offense, because you are hurt and insulting. However, this is one of the times when you’ll need to consider your partner’s strength. He/she is concerned about you and wants to be helpful, but has communicated this sentiment in the wrong way.
Different Situations Bring Out the Best and Worst In People
Everyone has strengths that can become weaknesses depending on the situations we are faced with. If your spouse is a great leader at work and has made wise choices professionally, he/she may be particularly difficult when it comes to exhibiting teamwork at home. In many cases, people who are used to being in charge and good at delegating tasks are not comfortable with taking orders or even suggestions from others.
If your partner is very creative and artistic, he/she may not be the best at making logical decisions. People who are creative tend to make choices on what feels right to them intuitively, and may not look at the facts to make a choice that is best for everyone involved. However, it’s also important to realize that not every weak personality trait necessarily has a strong counterpart.
In dangerous or extreme circumstances such as abuse, don’t look for excuses to stay with your mate. If you or your family is unsafe as a result of your spouse’s behavior, it’s vital that you remove yourself from the situation as soon as you possibly can.
Remember to See the Best In Your Mate
When you’re struggling to forgive your spouse, keep in mind that most people are not inherently bad. After all, if you truly thought that your spouse was evil, you wouldn’t have married him/her! For the most part, people are good and have a desire to be good. But, because we aren’t perfect, we have personality traits that are not beneficial to ourselves or to those that we love. As we grow and mature, we should become more aware of these traits, so that we can actively work on not practicing the behaviors that lead to destruction and misunderstanding.
When your partner acts in a way that is hurtful and angering to you, there’s a good chance that he/she is anxious and scared. They are not able to properly cope with the situation at hand, and are lashing out in ways that are not beneficial to the relationship. For instance, if your mate tells you that a career choice of yours is stupid and pointless, they may actually be trying to convey that they think the decision is risky. Your spouse may be trying to tell you that they need security, and want to know that you’ll make a decision that is best for the entire family.
While we often think that it’s demeaning to look at our spouses like children, it can sometimes be helpful to realize that your husband or wife still has an inner child. The hurt, frustration or confusion that your spouse experienced as a child is likely still apparent in his/her behavior. Times of stress, sadness or uncertainty can bring these behaviors to the forefront. Do your best to be caring and understanding so that you can resolve the situation instead of escalating it.
Remember What Forgiveness Really Means
It’s also worth mentioning that forgiveness does not mean that you have to continue to tolerate hurtful behavior from your spouse. You don’t have to put yourself in position to be hurt again just because you’ve forgiven your husband or wife for something they’ve said or done. Setting boundaries for yourself is completely healthy, and helps you to maintain a standard of respect in your relationship while you work toward a healthy, happy marriage.
Author Bio: Malini Bhatia is the founder of Marriage.com, a website dedicated to providing value in every marriage. Marriage.com provides resources, information and a community that supports healthy, happy marriages. Malini has global experience in international management and communications, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.