We all know that we SHOULD forgive, but sometimes we don’t know how. When it’s something big and the pain is too great, how do we move past it and forgive?
Today I would like to talk to you about forgiveness. And not just that you SHOULD forgive, but how you actually do that.
Forgiveness is key to having a happy marriage. Our spouses are far from perfect, and as their spouse we get a front row seat too all of their bad habits and behaviors. Things that we may once have found endearing can grate on our nerves if we let it. But lets remember…we LOVE them. We do. So we can forgive them of those little annoying daily things that happen over and over and over and over….
But what about when its a big thing? How do we forgive when trust has been broken. When promises are made and broken time and time again. When we have been betrayed.
This is what is hard. Right?
When someone does something that you’re feeling hurt by, it can be painful, but it is nothing more than a thought or belief and a feeling that you carry around. You may feel anger, frustration, resentment, fear, and maybe even hatred because of this belief that they’ve done something wrong and to hurt you.
So, rather than blaming your spouse for how you are feeling, take responsibility for your feelings. And its ok to feel hurt… but realize that it is choice based on your beliefs about their actions. And rather than hold on to that pain and hurt, you can choose to think better thoughts about yourself and them about the situation. and THAT is the key to forgive them.
When we forgive others, its not for their benefit, its for ours. We lift a burden off ourselves we forgive. When we change our beliefs about what their behavior means for us, then we can forgive them and let that burden go. Now it may make them feel better when we forgive them. But we can forgive someone without them ever knowing that they’ve wronged us or ever asking to forgive them. But them feeling better is about their thoughts about the situation, not us actually forgiving them.
Forgiveness can take work. But if we desire to forgive and work for it, it is possible.
So let’s bring up a scenario –
So what if your spouse is unfaithful to you. The pain comes from beliefs such as:
- He shouldn’t have done that
- He doesn’t love me
- He wouldn’t have done this if I were a better wife
- What if he leaves me and starts a new better life with her?
We BELIEVE those thoughts…
And with those beliefs you have feelings such as
When you have those feelings, how are you showing up in your marriage? Your probably showing up in one of two ways
- You are pulling away
- Or you are attacking
Neither is great. And when you do this, your relationship will probably deteriorate further which reinforces your beliefs….
When we act out of anger, fear, and resentment we are never acting as our best self. Our best self comes when we act from love.
But if you can work to slowly change those beliefs to
- I’m not ok with what he did, but I still love him and we will get through this OR
- I’m not ok with what he did, I still love him, but I’m not going to choose to stay OR
- What he did was choices he made because of something inside of him, it has nothing to with me. I am enough.
Doesn’t that feel better. With thoughts like that it will be much easier to forgive him, because you are coming from a place of love. Forgiveness brings strength and peace. It softens our heart and opens a pathway to healing and to rebuilding trust.
Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you condone the behavior. It also doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for that behavior. And, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with them. But it feels much better to make those decisions in peace and love (love for your spouse and love for yourself) than out of anger and resentment?
I was married to my first husband for more than 13 years. We had three children together. And before I divorced him, I went through the 5 steps I discussed in Episode 1. That is how I got a place of peace before I decided to end the marriage. But after we were divorced I really felt like I needed to forgive him if we were going to move on to a place of peace and be able to co-parent our children together. And, with the Lord’s help, I do feel like I have completely forgiven him. I was able to look at the things that were hurting him that made him act the way he did and have compassion for that. And while I am sad that our marriage had to end, I feel really good about where we are now. We have a pretty good relationship. We co-parent really well. Our children are happy and well-adjusted. And I look at where I am now in my life – I have a wonderful marriage with my now husband, Kevin, and I know that I wouldn’t be near as happy if I hadn’t been able to forgive and move through the hurt.
Larry J. Echo Hawk, who is a General Authority in our church said “As we forgive, the Savior will strengthen us and His power and joy will flow into our lives.”
I truly believe that we get an added measure of the spirit when we choose to be obedient and forgive. When we use the atonement to help us forgive, it invites the Savior to be with us on the journey and we are able to give Him the hurt. And give Him the parts we can’t handle. He is able to help us forgive, to move on, to be happy, to be at peace.
Now… just as it is important to forgive others, it is just as important to forgive ourselves. We need to have compassion on ourselves. Be kind. Realize that we are human. We make mistakes. That is the nature of our experience here on this earth. So when you make mistakes…think compassionate thoughts and forgive yourself. You deserve it too! When I was going through the process of forgiving my ex-husband, I also had to take a look at the things I had done that had contributed to the demise of our marriage and forgive myself for those.
I love the quote “God sees our imperfection and shortcomings, but He also sees beyond them.” See beyond them in yourself. See beyond the shortcomings in your spouse. Live from love.
If you are having a hard time, forgiving someone in your life, sign up for my free mini-coaching session and I’d love to help you work through it.
Have a fabulous week my friends, we will see you next time….