Forgiveness is the decision/choice to give up the right for vengeance, retribution, and negative thoughts toward an offender in order to be free from anger and resentment. This process promotes healing and restoration of inner peace, and can allow reconciliation to take place in the relationship. Since it is sometimes unsafe or impossible, forgiveness does not always involve reconciliation.
Forgiveness is not always quick, it is a process that can take time to unfold.
Understanding what Forgiveness IS NOT:
- Forgiveness is Not condoning the wrong behaviour.
- Forgiveness is Not forgetting about it. NOR perpetuating injustice.
- Forgiveness is Not denial, pretending it didn’t happen.
- Forgiveness does Not mean the pain has gone away.
The 6 steps for seeking & granting forgiveness
Six Steps for seeking forgiveness:
- Admit what you did was wrong or hurtful.
- Try to understand/empathize with the pain you have caused.
- Take responsibility for your actions and make restitution if necessary.
- Assure your partner you will try not to do it again.
- Apologize and ask for forgiveness
- Forgive yourself.
Six Steps for granting forgiveness:
- Acknowledge your pain and anger.
- Be specific about your future expectations and limits.
- Give up your right to “get even.” Move away from entertaining thoughts
of revenge and inflicting harm as repayment or punishment.
- Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity so you’re not tied to the
pain and less likely to be reactive in the present
- Communicate your act of forgiveness to your partner.
- Work towards reconciliation (when safe).
The Five Myths that Surround Acceptance
Unfortunately, most people in our culture have the wrong idea about what acceptance means. There are five primary myths that abound.
- Acceptance Myth #1: Acceptance can happen all at once.
- Acceptance Myth #2: Once you accept the affair, positive feelings will replace the negative feelings you once had.
- Acceptance Myth #3: Accepting the affair means you were wrong to have had such a strong reaction to it in the first place.
- Acceptance Myth #4: Accepting the affair means your partner is off the hook.
- Acceptance Myth #5: Accepting the affair does not mean forgetting about it.
Step 6 Progress
- The couple has developed a new pattern of open, honest, and complete communication to facilitate rebuilding TRUST;
- Obsession should be lessened ; the need to talk about the affair constantly should be nearly over or over;
- The expectations for the relationship should be more realistic
- Both spouses know how the affair related to their families of origin;
- They know their own individual danger points – those situations where they are most likely to ignore reality, in hopes of avoiding pain or gaining pleasure;
- Both people know their own emotional needs
- Intimacy is now more stable and satisfying
- The couple can share their sexual fears and desires more openly; and
- When setbacks occur, they can be dealt with in more productive ways
“ A happy marriage is the union
of two good forgivers. ”
Ruth Bell Graham
What we will focus on in Step #6
The Forgiveness Letter:
- What you did
- What the result was to the betrayed spouse
- Request for forgiveness