Forgiveness plays a huge role in any healthy relationship, especially your marriage. But as most of us know, forgiveness is often easier said than done.
Every couple knows that disputes and miscommunications will happen in even the best of marriages. And when they arise, it can be easy to shift blame or hold grudges.
I personally am often stubborn and slow to forgive. I prefer to nurse my hurt feelings and hold on to anger longer than I should. But married life has challenged me to let go of my harmful pride and more readily extend forgiveness.
Keep in mind these tips are for “minor” marital disputes and issues. Consider counseling if there are more serious problems or issues that need attention.
Give them the benefit of the doubt
When arguing with your spouse, it’s easy to assume the worst in them. More often than not, the problem is caused by a lack of communication or a moment of immaturity than viciousness or spite.
Remembering that your husband is on your team and ultimately desires your good helps you listen with more fairness and understanding. It’s not meant to undermine the harm done, but helps you approach the situation with more clarity and trust.
When you start to get frustrated or angry, it is helpful to try to put the shoe on the other foot. Try to ask yourself: “how would I want him to respond if I was apologizing for the same thing?” We would want to be forgiven, of course!
Viewing the situation with this mindset can help soften your heart and put you in a disposition to forgive.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need a little extra grace when it comes to forgiving your spouse.
Saying a prayer like the “Our Father” or the Jesus Prayer can help prevent your feelings of frustration from escalating. It can calm you and recenter you on what is truly important.
But you don’t have to wait until the moment you need the grace the most to ask for it! Ask God daily to help you be more forgiving so, when the opportunity arises, you are more prepared.
Say it Aloud
Saying the words “I forgive you” are more than a formality, it is actually a major part of the forgiveness process.
This phrase is far more powerful than saying “It’s OK” to someone’s apology. It not only recognizes and affirms that a wrong has occurred but also makes your forgiveness more tangible. It’s humbling, not only for the person you are forgiving, but for yourself as you make the choice to live out your vows.
These words are empowering to both hear and say, as they restore trust and love within your relationship