If you’re like almost every married person in the world, you probably wonder how to forgive your spouse for past mistakes. In marriage, it is inevitable to make mistakes, some bigger, some smaller. And it is also inevitable to feel as if you were wronged. Because marriage is made of two humans, and humans are far from being flawless. But, once in a position of the maltreated spouse, you might notice this past transgression seems to linger forever in your heart and mind. So, how do you forgive your spouse for their past mistakes?
Why it is so hard to forgive
Any form of betrayal from the person you were supposed to be able to trust with your life is a blow that many just cannot overcome. Whether it is lies, infidelity, addiction, or any sort of a treachery, brace yourself for a bumpy road ahead. Because it won’t be easy to forgive your spouse. However, it is essential to do so. Both for the sake of your relationship and for your own wellbeing.
When we find out about the betrayal, we will first go through a whirlpool of emotions, ranging from pure rage to complete numbness. We won’t know what hit us. But, with time, we will get through this initial shock. Unfortunately, it is here where the real problems with letting go start. It is here where we are no longer in a state of a complete surprise and disbelief, but we become painfully aware of the agony ahead.
And it is at this point that our minds begin to play tricks on us. In essence, our brains are trying to protect us from getting hurt again by rearranging the way in which we see the reality. We will begin to doubt every step our spouse makes. We will become hyper vigilant of any possible sign of it happening again (lying, cheating, gambling, or similar).
And it is the same process that makes you unwilling to forgive your spouse. You come to believe that, if you forgive, you are allowing your spouse to do the same thing again. However, this is not the case. By forgiving, you are merely moving on, we are not saying that it was alright to go through that. So, because it is so essential to forgive, here are three steps to achieve this goal.
Step 1. Understand what happened
This probably won’t come hard to you, because most of us have the burning desire to get in the roots of how the betrayal happened. If you’re lucky, your spouse will be willing to help you with understanding it all. Ideally, you will get to ask all the questions, and you will receive all the answers.
But, whether you do have this kind of support or you don’t, this step also contains another important task that you can do on your own. Understand your own feelings, every single one of them. Determine which aspect of the betrayal hurt you the most. And, make an attempt to understand your spouse as well. Their reasons, their feelings.
Step 2. Take care of yourself
Forgiving your spouse will likely be a long process. One that can drain all your energy out of your body. You might feel unable to move on at some point. The constant reliving of the trauma has a way of ruining your everyday life, your confidence, and your zest. Which is why you should take good care of yourself first.
Pamper yourself. Be assertive. Try not to be aggressive and attack your spouse when in pain. Rather, indulge yourself. Spend time with your friends and family. If you need some time alone, take it. This will only result in a clearer mind and a better chance of resolving the resentment. But most importantly, always bear in mind that you need to heal before you can forgive your spouse.
Step 3. Change your perspective
Hopefully, after you’ve taken the previous steps, you are now in a much healthier place. You managed to find a peace within yourself, regardless of what happens on the outside. You understand how the betrayal came to happen, and you also understand yourself and your needs a bit better.
Once this happens, you are strong enough for a change of perspective. Regardless of what had happened in your marriage, there is always a way to see it from many different perspectives. Be it your spouse’s viewpoint, or a completely neutral one, you can choose to look at it differently, and not hold a grudge. In that way, you are about to start a new and freer life!