If you had told me on my wedding day the number of times I'd have to forgive the "husbird" and the numerous others he'd have to forgive me I wouldn't have believed you. After almost sixteen years of marriage we've forgiven each other countless times and will have to forgive each other many more to have a happy marriage.
Recently I read a newspaper article about forgiveness in marriage and since it's something that I'm continuously working on, I found it very interesting. It changed the way I view forgiveness and I thought you might like it as well, so here are a few highlights from it.
It was about a lecture given by Doctor Frank Fincham. He said that a happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers. Forgiveness is a process, not an event. Dr. Fincham titled his address, "Til lack of forgiveness doth us part: Forgiveness in Marriage."
He said that when we forgive we do not forget---that is not part of forgiveness...forgetting is just a passive removal of the offense from your consciousness. Forgiveness does not include a lack of consequence for the perpetrator, he said. And forgiveness is not no longer feeling pain. He said if a victim waits until the pain is gone before granting forgiveness, it might take a very long time to ever forgive a person.
He goes on to say, "It is not about pretending that unacceptable behavior is, in fact, acceptable. We don't condone the wrong. The wrong is a wrong, and we forgive in full knowledge that we have been wronged and that we deserve better treatment. It is not about trust. Forgiveness doesn't mean trusting the person. It is not about reconciling with the person. "That is a confusion that is rampant in our culture, that if I forgive I have to reconciled to the person I'm forgiving," he said. "It is more like giving up the perceived right to get even. It's like giving up the attitude, "You owe me."
Forgiveness is a response to being wronged that entails a change in which justified anger and resentment are freely given up, he said. To forgive often entails a struggle. Forgiveness involves working through, not avoiding, that emotional pain," he said.
He shared six ways in which individuals can become more forgiving. First, pray for your partner. Second, Structured plan-- try seeing your partner for the whole person that they are. Third, Be patient. Fourth, Set an agenda to work on the the issue in question. Fifth, Apologize and ask for forgiveness.
He encourages individuals to recall times that they were the offender seeking forgiveness.
I thought he brought up some very insightful thoughts about forgiving not only your spouse, but anyone. Maybe if I read this when I need to forgive someone it will help make it easier.