People can hurt you. It’s one of those basic facts of life. Unfortunately, one of the people who can hurt you the most is your spouse or partner. Why? They are with you the most. They know you the best. And they know how to push your buttons.
Whether your significant other means to or not, they will hurt you in big ways and small ways, probably many times. It could just be an offhanded comment not meant to hurt you; or it could be a major betrayal such as cheating. The point is, it happens probably more often than we would like. And the flipside is also true—we can cause hurt to our significant other as well.
If you are in a relationship, hurt is inevitable. You must learn to forgive. It’s part of the deal. And while you may not have an easy time forgiving now, with some practice, you can get better at it. Yes, forgiving can in some ways be like riding a bike. There is a steep learning curve, but once you figure it out and do it often, it does get easier. Of course, you still can get hurt along the way, but you can still keep getting back on the bike again.
When is it time to forgive? The answer is always now. Here are 5 tips to letting go:
1. Take a Moment
When we are hurt, many times we are too emotional in that moment to react in an appropriate manner. So when your spouse or partner hurts you, step back and take a breath. Even remove yourself from their presence if you need to. You can certainly say, “That really hurt me,” but refrain from letting your emotions get the best of you. It’s better to take a moment to collect your thoughts before really discussing the matter. Take a whole day if you need to. Just let it mull over in the back of your mind. Sleep on it. A new day may bring a new perspective. Time may provide the calmness you need.
2. Focus on What’s Important
Weigh in on this every time a hurt has happened—is justice more important, or is the relationship more important? Sometimes when we are hurt, justice is all we think about. We feel we are right, our spouse is wrong, and we must have the wrong be made right. Why do we think this way? Hurt has a way of making us turn inward and only seeing our side of things. We think that somehow justice will make us feel better. But does it actually make us feel better? Not really. So the question is, what actually helps heal hurt? The answer is forgiving and forgetting and moving past the situation. If we don’t forgive, then we can’t move forward. We get stuck. No relationship can survive if you can’t progress.
3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Probably the last thing you want to do is think about what your partner is going through. You may think that if they have wronged you, they have no place to be angry or upset. But think about this—why did they hurt you in the first place? Was it really a cry for help? Did they feel cornered by you somehow? Realize that when someone hurts you, it is rarely an isolated issue. It is usually influenced by other factors, including your own behavior. Try to ask yourself what you would have done in their situation. Perhaps it will help you more easily forgive.
4. Discuss the Issue at Hand
When you are both ready, you need to sit down and talk about what happened. Be calm and take turns. Really listen to what they are saying instead of just taking that time to formulate a back lash. You may think you have all of the information, but you may not. Look at this as a time of learning. Go into it with an attitude of love. Also, be careful not to bring other issues into the discussion. Stay focused, speak your peace, and be calm and loving.
5. Actually Forgive and Forget
Just as important as it is to hear the words, “I’m sorry,” your significant other also needs to her the words “I forgive you” from you. Be sincere. When you forgive, it means you actually are letting the other person know that you are not holding a grudge or harboring the issue for later use. While forgiving is one thing, forgetting is another. You certainly won’t “forget” but you can get past it. How? By letting go of the hurt that doesn’t define either of you or your relationship. Look forward, not backwards. Only then can your relationship truly heal.