There can be no healthy relationship without forgiveness. Besides communication, forgiveness is perhaps the most important quality to be engaged by both partners. Use it unsparingly unless your partner has crossed an un-crossable line. For most, our transgressions can be forgiven, and amends made. We all push boundaries and go too far once in a while. It is after all human nature. Perhaps some do it without even realizing it. Forgiveness is a quality we usually learn as a child when our siblings or peers have gone too far, but when their misbehaviors are forgivable. It is a quality parents and teachers instill and reinforce within us. Everyone has a different capacity for forgiveness, and some need more time to do so than others. But everyone can learn to forgive. Though some say they do, in their heart they secretly carry anger and resentment. But this can be toxic both to the person themselves and the relationship. Psychologists say those who can actually forgive experience better mental health. It is not about justice but healing. Remember what Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Forgiveness is actually about ourselves, not the other person.
For those who have gone through a bitter divorce, or some other trauma, therapists say that when we are ready, we should forgive, whether the perpetrator deserves it or not, and whether they accept it or not. That is not for their benefit, but our own, so we can let go of the bitterness that is poisoning our heart, and be able to heal and move on. The reason you should not forget is that we learn from examining past experiences. We find out more about ourselves, our partner, and how best to handle the same or a similar situation in the future. We learn what we are sensitive about, what are buttons are and how they can be pushed, and if we delve deeper we can learn about the origins of these things too. What exactly are you set off by and why? Does it lead to past, undealt with trauma? And what was it about your partner that made them go there? Was it an accident or did they do it on purpose? By examining these, you can get to know yourself better, your partner, and your relationship too.
After the honeymoon phase, couples are met with a series of inconsistencies or incongruities that they must negotiate in order to stay together. It is from here that many transgressions arise. Another area can be the emotional baggage one or both partners carry. Forgiveness is important to bring things back to center. But using the knowledge of what occurred can help you to create some ways of operating or develop some basic rules, to keep the same problem from happening again. Out of this you grow stronger, and closer, and your relationship develops. This improves the overall health of the relationship, strengthens commitment, and allows the couple to avoid such problems in the future. It can be very difficult to forgive, especially for the proud and hot heated, and those who tend to hold a grudge. But whether you are planning to stay in this relationship, or your lovers wrongdoings have been too great, forgiveness is the most important step toward healing. Remember that forgiveness is not allowing mistreatment to go on. Instead, it is understanding what happened to you, and coming to terms with it.
For more pick up a copy of Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything by Iyanla Vanzant.