An inconvenient truth about marriage is that our past troubles move with us into the present —even when you have moved on and forgiven each other. Forgiveness heals, but it doesn’t erase. And many of us find ourselves tethered to deep emotions from the past. The key to a healthy path forward may be to understand that your relationship carries history with it, and that your history will always slightly tint your present. Rather than fearing the big emotions from our past, maybe the best answer is to embrace them as part of the journey. Let’s talk about why we should accept our shared past as part of current circumstances in our marriages so that we can continue building bridges instead of walls.
What Forgiveness Means in a Marriage
Forgiveness means being willing to let go, to move on, and to not hold grudges against your significant other. It doesn’t mean forgetting what they did, but it does mean choosing to work through the hurt and try to rebuild the trust that was broken.
Practical Tips for How to Forgive & Move Forward
Forgiveness requires vulnerability, a willingness to let go, and a genuine desire to move on from the hurt. But as hard as it may be, it’s a vital step in healing and finding peace within ourselves. So how do we forgive and move forward? It starts with acknowledging our feelings and giving ourselves permission to feel them. We also need to understand that forgiveness doesn’t excuse the behavior, but rather releases us from the burden of carrying the pain.
Recognizing When You Need Extra Help
Sometimes it’s hard to admit when we need help. We want to believe that we can handle everything on our own, especially when it comes to dealing with the challenges of our difficult past. But the reality is, there’s no shame in reaching out and seeking extra support. Whether it’s talking to a therapist, joining a support group, or confiding in a trusted friend, getting the extra help we need can make all the difference in our journey towards healing and overcoming the obstacles that our troubled history has presented us with. My husband and I chose individual therapy as the first step to healing from our past. We knew that we couldn’t address our combined problems until we both addressed our individual ones.
Examining Your Own Role in the Ups & Downs of a Relationship
It’s so easy to see ourselves as the victim of our spouse’s wrongdoings. While there are certainly marriages where there is one clear victim (that’s called abuse and abuse never deserves forgiveness or reconciliation), the troubles of most marriages are a two way street. It’s important to take time to introspect — to try to understand how our own choices may be contributing to the past or present problems. One thing I have to constantly ask myself since my marriage reconciliation is am I actually upset about what is happening right now, or am I triggered by something from our past? My husband deserves a clean slate, an opportunity to show me that he has changed just like I have. In order to give him that clean slate, I have to address my own triggers.
Reflecting on What You’ve Learned from the Experiences in Your Marriage
Marriage is a journey, and with it comes experiences that shape us as individuals and a couple. As I reflect on what I’ve learned from my marriage, I can’t help but feel gratitude for the growth it has brought. My marriage has taught me the importance of communication, compromise, and patience. It has shown me the depths of my own capacity to love and forgive, even in the midst of conflict. Through the ups and downs, I’ve come to understand that marriage is perhaps our greatest sandbox for learning how to be better people. Looking back on the experiences we’ve shared, I can confidently say that I am a better person for having gone through them with my husband by my side.
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