Rebuilding Love and Healing Emotional Wounds: Steps to Strengthen Your Marriage..

The person who can hurt you easily and deeply, willingly or unwillingly, is your spouse because he/she is so close to you and knows so much about you. So how do you forgive?

1) COMMUNICATE YOUR HURT. Your spouse might not be aware that you have been offended. Stop keeping this to yourself growing resentment, assuming your spouse will know as if your spouse reads your mind. Let your spouse know "Darling; you hurt me." What might be an issue to you, might not be an issue to your spouse.


2) DON'T ALWAYS EXPECT AN APOLOGY. An apology is not what determines forgiveness. It is wonderful for your spouse to apologize but not every time your spouse will apologize. Your spouse might fail to apologize because he/she doesn't see why you are hurt, he/she is proud, you two have not come to an agreement or you are partly to blame for what you are accusing your spouse of. You have to resolve in your heart, "I will not put my life on hold, waiting for an apology that might never come."

3) DON'T DEMAND AN APOLOGY. Don't force an apology out of your spouse; it will only hurt you more. If you push your spouse to say "Fine, I am sorry, are you happy now?" it will sting you. No apology is better than a forced and fake one. 

4) SEE ALSO YOUR WRONGS. Many spouses expect an apology from their spouse but find it difficult to say sorry when they are wrong. Review your words and actions regularly, and if convicted that you wronged your spouse, apologize. Apologize even for what you consider your petty offenses. This teaches your spouse how to do it and shows that you are fair.

5) SEPARATE THE ISSUE FROM YOUR SPOUSE. There is a line that says, "God hates the sin, not the sinner." Similarly, in marriage, learn to see your spouse in totality, don't just focus on the wrong your spouse has done and judge him/her based on it.

6) DON'T GIVE THE SILENT TREATMENT. Silent treatment teaches you to stay mad grow your grudge and push your spouse away. Silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse and breeds a negative atmosphere at home. Eventually, you will get tired of it and when you are ready to talk to your spouse, you might find you two have done permanent damage to your connection and you two have drifted too far apart.

7) ASK GOD FOR HELP. It is normal to struggle to forgive, ask God to work on your heart, and lift the weight of offense. You will be reminded of how God has forgiven you, and you will extend the same grace to your spouse.

8) COMMUNICATE TO YOUR SPOUSE HOW TO ACT IN THE FUTURE. Talk about the offense to your spouse calmly and discuss what specific things you two can do so that it is not repeated. This makes you feel heard, addresses the root cause of the offense, offers a solution and not just a reaction to the offense, builds your spouse's capacity to love you, and is future-driven.

9) DON'T SEEK REVENGE. When you seek revenge, you unleash the monster in you. A tit-for-tat has no place in marriage. When you revenge you give your spouse too much power to change you for the worse and you complicate things by adding to the list of things you two have to forgive

10) DON'T EQUATE YOUR SPOUSE TO THE DEVIL. Restrain from telling your spouse "You are the devil's agent in this marriage." Once you start seeing your spouse as an ally of the enemy, you will see your spouse as your enemy. It is difficult to forgive an enemy.

11) TELL YOUR SPOUSE "I FORGIVE YOU." Even if you don't feel like it, push yourself to forgive by telling your spouse "I forgive you." When you speak it, you become it. Saying this will also show your spouse you are willing to work things out

12) REMEMBER YOU'RE GOOD DAYS. In a moment of offense, it is easy to forget how far you two have come. Take time to look back at your old photos and videos, and talk about your memories. Remind yourselves of what you two have had all these years. You might see that your spouse is not so bad after all.

14) APPRECIATE YOUR SPOUSE. The best way to start seeing your spouse in a more positive light is to notice and call out the good things your spouse does. This will make you value him/her.

15) CHANGE THE CONVERSATION. Find new things to talk about other than the issue every day. Watch a movie, take a walk, go out on a date, and have a good laugh. Make new memories that will help to move on.

16) DON'T KEEP REMINDING YOUR SPOUSE. Keep off telling your spouse over and over how he/she has hurt you; your spouse already knows. Move forward.

17) CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES. Sometimes you just have to see the bigger picture, you cannot ruin a good marriage (even though it is not perfect) by dwelling on one issue; especially if the issue revolves around an area where your spouse will eventually grow and become better at. Use your energy on more important things.

18) SEEK COUNSELING. If you two are struggling to understand each other and to make a breakthrough in the issue; consider counseling to unpack and make progress.

19) DECIDE WHETHER IT IS FORGIVENESS AND STAYING, OR FORGIVENESS AND LEAVING. Whether you choose to stay in the marriage or to end it; you have to choose forgiveness. Always go with forgiveness.

20) DO IT FOR YOU. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. Your heart is too precious to carry hatred, bitterness, and anger; emotions that will ruin every other aspect of your life.

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