Mistakes are inevitable in every relationship, no matter how strong your bond with your spouse may be. Some issues are minor, but others—financial dishonesty, adultery, for example—are more serious and difficult to overcome. Forgiveness is a tool you can use to help you come out stronger on the other side of a difficult situation. It is a multi-step process that requires patience and trust-building on both sides of the relationship regarding forgiveness. If you recognize their significance and remain genuinely involved in the process, it is possible to move on from hurtful words and deeds. Truly forgiving a partner means forgetting about the transgression and never bringing it up again; relationships that work do not dwell on the past.
How to forgive your partner?
To become people who do not dwell on the past, you need to forgive each other. Forgiveness may be challenging, but it is doable if you are committed to making a relationship work. Forgiveness is a multi-step process that requires patience and trust on both sides of the relationship. If you respect their significance and remain authentically engaged in the process, it is entirely possible to move on from hurtful words and actions. Please continue reading to learn why forgiveness is so crucial in a relationship’s evolution and how to give and receive it.
1. Understand what true forgiveness is
To truly forgive means going ahead in a relationship without feeling trapped in bitterness or punishing your spouse in minor ways. A good deal of the time, this entails approaching your relationship from an entirely fresh perspective and letting go of preconceived notions about their conduct (they’re constantly making mistakes, they’re untrustworthy, etc.) that have caused you distress in the past.
2. Set boundaries
The boundaries of your relationship may seem different for a period following a significant breach. If your partner has physically cheated on you, having access to their phone, email, and social media accounts may be vital to help you reestablish your trust in that person. Most of the time, actions, not words, restore confidence. Establishing new boundaries in a way that allows your relationship to move past its current difficulties and into a new chapter can help you to develop the conditions necessary for genuine forgiveness to occur.
3. Do not be impulsive.
When something catastrophic occurs in a relationship, you may feel compelled to end the relationship immediately. There’s always a hurry to separate or take a break, but nothing beneficial can emerge from the standard ‘we’re simply not going to talk’ response. As there is no labor being done, this is more detrimental than beneficial. Pauses in conflicts when you’re in an uncomfortable position, and seeking the assistance of a professional relationship counselor can assist you in navigating a conversation that can feel impossible to have on your own. Taking time to process your feelings will allow you to think of what you truly want. If you want a future with your partner, you will need to be open and honest about your feelings to ensure that you iron everything out and you do not dwell on the past.
4. Remember that you are teammates on the same side of healing your relationship.
In this case, it isn’t “you vs. your relationship,” but rather “you and your partner versus the problem.” If your spouse has betrayed your trust, it is naturally tough to reach that attitude. However, placing yourself on the same side of the issue fosters the essential collaboration to get through a problem together. To do this, do not dwell on the past and bring up your partner’s flaws. When you and your partner are both striving for the same end goal, you will both feel more supported, and you will both be more inclined to believe that the relationship is worth maintaining.
5. Talk it out
Losing trust seems like drowning in some ways: you’re suddenly wholly immersed in unfamiliar surroundings. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid falling victim to loss of trust. Open and honest communication is essential. Recognizing the breadth of what occurred and why it occurred is a critical first step in preparing the surface for air resurfacing. If your spouse has cheated on you, urge them to open up about what they believe they were missing out on while in your relationship. Alternatively, if they have grumbled about you behind your back, you should inquire as to why they did not feel comfortable discussing their concerns with you directly in the first place.
It is also vital to be compassionate; This is not the time to bash your partner for past transgressions when you have a misunderstanding. It might feel entirely justified to lash out and do harm to your lover as a result of the grief you’ve suffered from them. Revenge and name-calling only serve to keep you and your partner anchored in a place of suffering. You may find it easier to get over the other person’s conduct later on if you avoid villainizing them and instead see them as a sensible individual who may or may not have had wrong motives for doing what they did. You can not judge your partner on a mistake they make or mistakes they have made in the past. Be present and deal with each problem as it arises to avoid dwelling in the past and carrying baggage in the relationship.
Why is forgiveness important in a relationship?
Addressing a problem head-on rather than sweeping it under the proverbial rug helps to guarantee that your spouse understands how and why they have caused you distress. This reduces the likelihood of anything similar occurring in the future. Furthermore, it also reduces the possibility that the issue will become a recurring problem in your relationship in the future. Inevitably it is draining to be angry or unhappy with someone for an extended time.
Forgiveness is vital because it helps prevent contempt, one of the most destructive emotions in a relationship. We allow mistakes to fester, which is a gradual poison on us. Years will pass, and you will glance up and realize that you have no idea why you are so angry with this individual.
When you do not dwell on the past, you permit yourself to let go of negative emotions; you emotionally and cognitively liberate yourself. Rather than becoming caught in a difficult phase, this allows the relationship to continue to develop. To become more vulnerable, we must first learn to forgive others. It enables us to see the other person through compassion and empathy rather than through the eyes of impatience, grief and hurt. Forgiveness can also be used as a tool for personal development.
If there are problems, it is not always possible to point the finger at the other person. You must divert it to yourself and observe what is taking place. Perhaps your partner withheld information about a significant purchase, such as a motorbike, from you because they believe you denigrate them when they talk about how much they enjoy riding. If you understand how your actions contributed to the problem, you will better prevent an issue from becoming worse.
Why shouldn’t I dwell on the past?
When you allow yourself to dwell on the past, you stunt the growth of your relationship. Sometimes you may feel like reminding your partner of their mistakes is the right thing to do, but you create a rift in your relationship. Some of the reasons why you shouldn’t dwell on the past include:
1. Your memories might be distorted.
When you bring up old memories and go over them repeatedly, you likely remember things a little bit differently every time. Nobody can have a perfect recall of the past, and this is especially true if you have stewed over events for an extended time. Your subconscious distorts the recollections. Each time you recall the circumstances, your emotions and ideas about them will change how you remember them. The fundamental causes for such recollections are not likely to be misremembered. Still, there is a possibility that you may add or remove context, which will change how you respond to the memory.
2. You become resentful
When we believe someone has mistreated us, we experience resentment. When one brings up the past during an argument, the hatred is felt on both sides of the table at the same time. The individual who brings up the past has their hatred towards that mistake or behavior revived. Eventually, the person who made a mistake will dislike their partner for holding onto the issue and bringing it up all of the time. Arguably, each time the subject of the past is brought up, the hatred gets greater. When you do not dwell on the past, you can move forward, and you allow your relationship the room to grow.
3. You keep punishing your partner.
If your spouse has made a mistake, it is quite probable that they are already carrying that remorse around with them in their hearts. However, by bringing up a previous infraction in the present, you are penalizing them for it once more for their actions. The feelings of guilt they are experiencing will return. Further heightening the regret and resentment already experienced. They will be in a terrible mood and will feel horrible about themselves. The more you bring up the past, the more your partner may feel like you are trying to manipulate them into acting in the way you want.
4. You create mountains out of anthills.
Emotions such as those listed above have the effect of drawing attention away from the original topic under discussion. As a result, what begins as a minor quarrel results in a brutal fight. This results in the argument leaving you both feeling drained rather than a problem that might have gotten resolved quietly in the first place.
5. You burden yourself
Even in its current state, a debate is likely to include an emotional component. However, when you include the past, you unload a whole new set of emotions on the situation. This is due to the power of negative emotions and how they attach themselves to events and memories in our history rather than any inherent bias in our brain. In other words, when you dig up the old ground, you rekindle old memories, resulting in triggers associated with those memories burst.
6. You never resolve any issues.
The more time you spend revisiting old terrain in a relationship, the more reinforced those memories are. The events that occur and the challenges that arise from those occurrences become defining moments in your relationship. When you bring up previous indiscretions, you make it impossible for yourself to ever come to terms with them and forgive your spouse for their actions. After peeling a scab off an open wound over and over again, the skin behind the scab will finally recover. The damage will continue to leak and scab over in an ongoing cycle of irritation. Over time, that scab is likely to develop an infection, necessitating more intensive therapy to heal. In the same way, your relationship will suffer more and more with each reopening of an old wound until it is in desperate need of substantial treatment to be repaired.
Most often past wrongdoings are be utilized to injure your spouse in the present, mainly if you believe you are ‘losing’ the current disagreement. If you find yourself on the defensive or with nowhere else to go with your logic, you may turn to bring up something they did that you can use to attack them with instead. When you do not dwell on the past, your partner can see that you are willing to forgive them and grow the relationship. If you feel you cannot forgive your partner, you may need to think about leaving the relationship. It is not fair to harbor resentment and reminds your partner of all their wrongdoings when they are making an effort to change and become a better person.