Studies have shown that forgiveness is a crucial factor in a healthy relationship. Couples who demonstrate forgiveness have longer, healthier romantic relationships. Everybody has flaws and couples who expect a relationship to be perfect are setting themselves up for disappointment. Forgiveness is tough but not being able to forgive has many negative consequences.
What lack of forgiveness can cause
In relationships where there is a lack of forgiveness, it is difficult to resolve conflicts. Neither partner is prepared to compromise nor admit to being wrong. They keep harboring a grudge and build up resentment against each other. Those who hold grudges are constantly living in the past.
Lack of forgiveness can result in negative behavior such as berating, hitting or avoiding a partner. Many couples get into a negative cycle where there’s ongoing conflict, and nobody wins. It’s only forgiveness that can break this cycle.
If a couple keeps holding grudges, this brings anger and bitterness into a relationship. If this is ongoing, it can cause anxiety and depression, a lack of connection and feelings of despair. Emotional and physical health suffers when a couple is trapped in a negative cycle.
How to ask for forgiveness
Asking for forgiveness, being truly sorry for your hurtful behavior and being ready to go the extra mile to put things right, may just help to save a rocky relationship.
- You need to show true remorse for the pain you have caused.
- You need to be willing to make a commitment not to repeat the hurtful behavior.
- You will have to accept the consequences of your behavior and be open to making up for what you’ve done.
- You need to be patient with your partner because it takes time to build up trust again.
- Your apology should come with a plan of action to help restore trust.
How do you forgive a partner?
Both parties benefit when an “offending” partner shows forgiveness. They tend to feel happier in the relationship and have fewer negative thoughts and sentiments. So, how do you go about forgiving?
Express your anger – it is very important to express your true feelings. This does not mean you attack your partner, but you make the person understand how what he did made you feel. You need to talk about the way you feel rather than focusing on what he did because this may cause defensiveness and make him close up. For forgiveness to happen, your partner needs to acknowledge your pain.
Give context to the problem – when your feelings have been acknowledged, it’s time to hear your partner’s side of the story and ask questions. Forgiveness becomes possible when you understand that your partner is a good person who happened to make a mistake. It’s easier to forgive when you see your partner as a good person who made some bad decisions. It helps to remember that even caring, and loving people make hurtful mistakes.
What do you do when trust is repeatedly betrayed?
We all know the saying “Forgive and forget” but forgiving does not mean forgetting. It takes time to build up trust when it has been betrayed. If this trust is being consistently violated by one partner, the other partner has a right to reconsider the relationship. Forgiving a partner does not mean tolerating the behavior. When there is proof that some major issues are not improving, despite efforts to forgive, a relationship could be in deep trouble.
What forgiveness brings
It takes strength to forgive, but it brings peace of mind. Harboring all that resentment and anger takes its toll. Seeking revenge or retribution only creates more pain. Every relationship needs forgiveness because everyone makes mistakes. If a partner is seeking forgiveness and trying to make amends, remember that everyone needs to forgive and be forgiven at some point in their lives.