How to Forgive the Unforgivable

Forgive the Unforgivable

Has your partner made an error that has hurt you? Have you made errors that have hurt your partner?

The closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to ‘step on their toes’. And being in a relationship with someone certainly puts you where this is fairly likely to happen. Relationships are a bit like ballroom dancing really! The chances are even pretty high that you and your partner could have pretty sore toes.

The point here is that it’s normal for you and your partner to make mistakes and to inadvertently step on each others toes. And as long as this is not intentional it is repairable. Like ballroom dancing, once you get the steps right the dance will flow naturally all by itself.

And, except in the case of physical abuse, (I addressed that in my blog of a couple of weeks ago) you can move on from anything. In fact, your marriage can end up even better!

I know…you’re probably thinking, ‘Better? How could it be better than before we messed it up?’

It can be better, but you have to do one thing first. You have to forgive.

What does it really mean to forgive?

Many people say, ‘I forgive you’, but continue to hold anger and resentment in their hearts. Some people even say the words, but their actions show that nothing’s changed for them at all.

Other people will say ‘I forgive you’ but what they really mean is, ‘I can’t deal with it. I don’t want to talk about it any more.’ And so the 3 magic words come out and form a wall that shuts out their partner. True, they may not be angry any more, but that’s because they’ve shut down all emotion and refuse to reconnect.

Saying ‘I forgive you!’ is an entirely different ball game from truly forgiving.

Let’s take a closer look at the word and where it comes from. The root of the word ‘forgive’ is the Latin word ‘perdonare’ meaning: ‘to give completely without reservation’. This is also the source of our English ‘pardon’.

When the Latin ‘perdonare’ was adopted into the Germanic ancestor of English, it was translated piece-by-piece: ‘Per’ was replaced by ‘for’, a prefix that in this case means ‘thoroughly’ and ‘donare’ with ‘giefan’ (to give). The result, ‘forgiefan’, appeared in Old English meaning ‘to give up’ or ‘allow’ as well as ‘to give in marriage’.

In modern English, ‘forgive’ has also taken on the meanings of ‘to pardon for an offence’, ‘renounce anger at’ (I truly forgive you for stepping on my toes) and ‘to abandon a claim on’ (as in ‘forgive a debt’).

What then is true forgiveness? It’s when you stand as close to your partner as you stood the day your feet got stepped on. It’s when you give of yourself like you did before you were hurt.

Forgiveness might also need to be of self as well as of the other. That might sound surprising but for your partner to have stepped on your toes your toes needed to have been there to be stepped on. As the old adage says: ‘It takes two to tango!’

And, by the way, forgiveness may not be easy to do. But it is possible. You can forgive each other and move on.

And once you forgive, you’ll see that your marriage can be better than it was before.
You could even be happy that the mistake was made (in a strange way) because it allows you to realize that you might never have achieved the love you finally have without that error as your catalyst.

Did you know that when a broken bone heals it’s stronger than it was before it was broken? You too can be stronger than before things broke down between you.

Did you ever make love after a big fight? Did you ever think after you made-up, ‘Hey, this is great? We should fight more often.’ Sometimes, while not an excuse to fight, the highest-highs can follow the lowest-lows. This is because in the forgiving you have come to an even more intimate place with each other.

If you are holding onto old hurts maybe it’s time for you to forgive. Give it a go it can be so liberating for you personally as well as for you as a couple.

And if you need help with this check out the ‘Quizzes and Questionnaires’ page at my site www.acouplesjourney.com. You will discover an exercise there to help you in finding forgiveness. Alternatively, if you need further assistance in this, please find a good Counselor. The effort will reap the reward.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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One thought on “How to Forgive the Unforgivable

  1. Hi,
    thanks for dealing with this topic. It’s important to forgive to move on, but pretty hard.
    My husband has not just stepped on my toes, he also has been abusive. The last year has been filled of dayly psychological abuse. When I applied for divorce he asked for forgiveness. At that time I was empty of feelings so I said yes and moved on.. moved out because I had enough. I really thought I forgave him, but now I realised I probably not. It hurts me a lot when I think of the abuse. And I don’t know how to handle with this. It’s difficult.

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