Monthly Marriage Spark for August
Strengthen your relationship through FORGIVENESS
Does your relationship need a spark? Would you like learn some new ways to reconnect with yourself and your partner? The Monthly Spark will help you do just that.
Each month several items will be listed like an article, podcast, book, meditation, exercise, or game that pertains to relationships or marriages that can help to rekindle connections. Enjoy! Be curious!! Try something new.
Why is forgiveness important in marriage?
The ability to forgive and seek forgiveness significantly contribute to relationship satisfaction and are often rated as one of the most important factors that affect relationship longevity. Forgiveness in marriages has been linked to relationship quality, attributions, and empathy.
The Bible tells us to forgive unconditionally; remember the bible story when Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who has sinned against him. Jesus first replies with what would seem to be an absurd number of times — “seventy times seven” — and then He follows with a parable about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35).
Wow- 490 times? That’s a lot of forgiving!” But that’s the point, isn’t it? We are to never stop forgiving. And Jesus makes the point very clear that unless we forgive others, our Father in heaven will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25)
It doesn't say we are to forget immediately. Sometimes it takes time to rebuild the trust that's been lost.
Spark #1: How to Forgive Your Partner
There are different techniques you can use to find a place of forgiveness when you have experienced betrayal. Consider each method and find the combination that works best for you. Talk it over with your partner and try some of these suggestions.
Certainly, it is more difficult to forgive a spouse for years of infidelity than it is for a minor mistake such as forgetting to pay a bill on time. Try to be patient with yourself as you experiment with different strategies.
- Be open and receptive to forgiveness.
- Make a conscious decision to forgive your spouse.
- Think of a calming place or do something to distract yourself from dwelling on those thoughts when images of the betrayal or hurt flash in your mind.
- Refrain from throwing an error or mistake back in your spouse's face later; don't use it as ammunition in an argument.
- Accept that you may never know the reason for the transgression, behavior, or mistake.
- Refrain from seeking revenge or retribution; trying to get even will only extend the pain and chances are good that this won't really make you feel better anyway.
- Remember that forgiveness does not mean that you condone the hurtful behavior.
- Be patient with yourself. Being able to forgive your spouse takes time. Don't try to hurry the process.
- Seek professional counseling to help you let go and forgive if you are still unable to forgive, or you find yourself dwelling on the betrayal or hurt.
Spark #2: How to Ask for Forgiveness
If you are the partner who has caused hurt, you can ask for forgiveness in an effort to rebuild trust in the relationship. Remember to give yourself and your partner time when working through the process.
- Show true contrition and remorse for the pain that you've caused.
- Be willing to make a commitment to not hurt your partner again by repeating the hurtful behavior.
- Accept the consequences of the action that created the hurt.
- Be open to making amends.
- Make a heartfelt and verbal apology; this includes a plan of action to make things right.
- Be patient with your partner. Being able to forgive you often takes time. Don't dismiss your spouse's feelings of betrayal by telling them to "get over it."
Take the time to process what happened, then find a way to let it go.
Spark #3: Other resources for you to review.
Faith Forum: Dr. Sue Johnson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvXv4EriGf8
How to Practice Forgiveness in a Marriage - https://www.verywellmind.com/forgiveness-and-letting-go-in-marriage-2300611
How to Forgive Someone - https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-forgive-3144957
Heavenly Father, as we strive to continuously build a stronger marriage, help us to forgive one another for things that may hurt or offend us. Help us to walk in forgiveness and never lose sight of the fact that you have forgiven us.
Help us to show your mercy and grace to our spouse each time they need it and not bring up past hurts or failures. Let us be an example of forgiveness to not only our spouse but to those around us so we can continue to show your love to all we meet. Help us to also forgive ourselves if we struggle with condemnation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”