I recently read a quote that said that a good marriage is a union of two forgivers. When mirrored in reverse, it crossed my mind that a good marriage or relationship will have its low moments and so will other kinds of relationships we have in life. Often times, we could be the cause of these low moments. Unless of course you are romantically entangled with a saint or you are about to be elevated to living sainthood yourself 😉 it is difficult to escape the drama that characterizes relationships – some trivial, some dramatic and some stormy – we are talking drama that feels like hurricanes and gale force winds here – hurtful, offensive or even downright betrayal and one is bound to ask whether they will be able to forgive the other party in the relationship.
This can range from small misunderstandings, forgotten or broken promises to such heavy issues such as infidelity and abuse. Those are on their own level and in many instances, forgiveness is hard to reach and even when it is reached, forgetting is almost usually impossible and relationships wounded by such misdeeds might stand little chance of ‘CPR’! Specialized intervention may be required.
Looking at the ‘pettier’ issues, a lot of energy in relationships is spent mulling over the lighter misunderstandings. Depending on the personality of Eve or Adam, some people may spend a lot of time thinking about how they have been wronged, trying to seek an apology, playing victim or planning vengeful reactions; other people may just file it away only to use to settle scores months or years later.
How we react to those smaller low moments can make a major difference to whether/on how a relationship grows (or gets stunted :)). Forgiveness is sometimes perceived as a form of weakness, giving in or not being able to stand up for yourself and make your point. The truth is that, when it comes to the smaller issues, forgiveness gives a relationship what a graft may give a rootstock stem – a new beginning through the art of propagation. However, special conditions should apply; as plants would need certain conditions for fruitful propagation, so would forgiveness. This doesn’t mean that forgiveness should be done with conditions but rather it is to say that forgiveness is not an act of blindly resolving issues that bedevil a relationship.
It is important to acknowledge that if you have been offended, you are allowed to be upset; it is a human reaction for real flesh and blood Eves and Adams. As hard as it may seem to comprehend or believe, people get upset in relationships and because they assume that the other party should be able to see through their emotions (isn’t it obvious to him/her? :)), they don’t communicate how let down or disappointed they may be. Anger is not a dish best served fermented. Communicating how you have been upset is important and part of dealing with it. How you communicate can make a whole lot of difference. Yes, sometimes one can fly off the handle and say things in the heat of the moment – we all react differently but it is wise to remember that once words fly out and the other party hears them, you can’t reel them back in. Some milk may be spilt.
Forgiving doesn’t come easy; the aggrieved party may see this as a carte blanche to err and may be worried that this may form a negative pattern in the relationship – no one wants to be seen as a doormat.
One of the simple and great benefits of forgiveness is that gives you the opportunity to move on. It doesn’t mean that you will let go easily; it doesn’t mean that the difficult emotions will be wiped out; it just means that the relationship is given renewed chances. Or that opportunities for new relationships can be explored.
Forgiveness starts with you.