Forgiveness, the other F Word

Forgiveness in relationship

We have all felt the sting of omissions and disloyalties from our loved ones. In relationships the absence of forgiveness can create a climate where harbored feelings of anger, bitterness and animosity prevent a couple’s bond from deepening and may eventually lead to relationship demise. To avoid this situation it befits all to explore and consider forgiveness.

What is forgiveness?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as “To grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt.” In other words, it is the end of indignation as a result of a perceived offense or disagreement, and pertains to ceasing to demand punishment. When thinking about forgiveness it is helpful to understand it as an intentional and multifaceted process. This process contains choice, intention, grace, and action. All of which are not passive acts that happen overnight. For the partner receiving forgiveness, it requires them to be patient, understanding, and transparent in order to facilitate reciprocity in the forgiveness process. Both partners have a significant part to play if choosing to incorporate this approach in their relationship.

Forgiveness is the medium for creating resiliency in your relationship. Taking this approach enables us to manage, mitigate, and resolve conflicts. Adopting this approach also enables the couple to move through the aftermath of past transgressions in a more thoughtful manner. This enables couples to slow down, decrease reactivity to the issues and move toward healing and understanding. Forgiveness also strengthens intimacy and connection with your partner. It empowers both parties to be vulnerable, tender, and honest with one another.

Forgiveness is both a mindset and action verb. When considering forgiveness within your relationship it’s helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

Mahatma Gandhi advised that, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. Choosing to forgive takes tremendous strength and courage. The practice of forgiveness is one of the essential building blocks for creating healthy and fulfilling relationships. Choosing to forgive can’t alter the past however, it creates the possibility of transforming the present and the future.

Dr. Tequilla Hill Hales is the owner of Hill Psychotherapeutic Services, LLC, a boutique private practice in Marietta, GA. Dr. Hales has had the pleasure of working with couples and families for over a decade. Her work focuses on emotional wellness and healthy relationships. Her main objective in both personal and professional life is to enhance the quality of life for others. She is an active member of the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and works as a therapist, supervisor, educator and advocate. Dr. Hales is a happy newlywed who enjoys travel, arts, cinema, cooking and outdoor activities.

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