One of the hardest parts of disagreeing with your spouse is that it’s not always easy to forgive transgressions whether they are real or imagined. Yet, even more difficult than forgiving a transgression is forgetting one. Now bear with me, because the old saying goes fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me – we all tend to get a little gun shy.
However, if love and passion are going to survive in your marriage you have to learn how to wipe the slate clean, forgive each other and forget. While you do not necessarily need to forget the incident – you do need to forget the negative feelings or you will find it very difficult to keep anger and resentment from building up.
Anger in any relationship can lead to festering emotional wounds. It only takes the right strike to cause them to erupt in a painful manner. When you hold onto the hostility and the hurts, you are erecting a barrier around yourself that is similar to the quills of a porcupine. Can you imagine trying to hug and hold close a porcupine?
Emotionally, you will withdraw and block off your spouse’s emotional connection to you. We do it in part to protect ourselves, but there is a measure of punishment involved. Regardless of the reasoning, this method rarely brings healing or closure – both of which are vital to the longevity of your emotional intimacy and marriage.
It’s hard to forgive someone for doing something that hurt you. Sometimes, it’s impossible to forgive them. When you face these situations, you must ask yourself two very important questions – do you believe them when they say they are genuinely sorry and did not intend to cause you harm? Can you imagine your life without them in it?
If you say yes to the first and no to the second, then you must find a way to absolve them and yourself of this wound. It may take time, just saying I forgive you does not mean you will feel like you are forgiving them. In fact, just the opposite – from my own personal experience — it took me nearly seven months to get to a place where I could honestly say I forgave my husband for a lie he’d told me.
The content of the lie was unimportant and it is now – it was the fact that he did lie and I felt like our intimacy -our trust – my trust had been violated. It was a difficult thing for me to get over. I am very good with anger as an emotion, other emotions – they are far more difficult. I will fall back on anger often because it is the easiest emotion for me to grasp. I had to get past the place where the anger was fresh. I had to get past the place where even considering my options was enough to make me angry.
No one can tell you how long is long enough. No one can tell you that how you feel or what you feel is wrong. The only advice I can give you is to find what helps you get past the anger, past the hurt and gives you the ability to reflect on the situation with love and compassion.
We are none of us perfect. We must all be forgiven our flaws and our missteps. Forgiving and forgetting requires love and it requires acceptance. If it takes you time – then take the time you need