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Forgiveness and Letting Go in Your Marriage

How to Forgive Your Spouse


Angry couple sitting on a couch with arms crossed
Photo: Peter Cade/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Being able to forgive and to let go of past hurts is a critical tool for a marriage relationship. Additionally, being able to forgive is a way to keep yourself healthy both emotionally and physically.


Health Aspects of Forgiving

If you hold on to old hurts, disappointments, petty annoyances, betrayals, insensitivity, and anger, you are wasting both your time and your energy. Nursing a perceived hurt can eventually make it in to something more - hate and extreme bitterness.

Lack of forgiveness can wear you down. Additionally, being unforgiving is not good for either your physical and mental well being.

How to Forgive

  • Be open.
  • Make a decision to forgive your spouse.
  • When images of the betrayal or hurt flash in your mind, think of a calming place or do something to distract yourself from dwelling on those thoughts.
  • Don't throw an error or mistake back in your spouse's face at a later date. Don't use it as ammunition in an argument.
  • Don't seek revenge or retribution. It will only extend the pain.
  • Accept that you may never know the reason for the transgression.
  • Remember that forgiveness doesn't mean you condone the hurtful behavior.
  • Be patient with yourself. Being able to forgive your spouse takes time. Don't try to hurry the process.
  • If you continue to be unable to forgive, or you find yourself dwelling on the betrayal or hurt, please seek professional counseling to help you let go and forgive.

How to Ask for Forgiveness

  • Show true contrition and remorse for the pain that you've caused.
  • Be willing to make a commitment to not hurt your spouse again by repeating the hurtful behavior.
  • Accept the consequences of the action that created the hurt.
  • Be open to making amends.
  • Be patient with your spouse. Being able to forgive you often takes time. Don't dismiss your spouse's feelings of betrayal by telling your spouse to "get over it."

Marriage Relationships Need Forgiveness

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has grumpy days. Many people say things they do not mean now and then. Everyone needs to forgive and to be forgiven.

No relationship, especially a marriage relationship, can be sustained over a long period of time without forgiveness. Even though you may find it find it difficult to forgive, being able to forgive is crucial in marriage.

Knowing When Enough is Enough

If your spouse abuses you, continues to betray you, continues to lie to you, etc., then it may be time to say enough is enough and to end your marriage. In these situations, forgiveness for the past hurts may take longer and that is okay.

For more on dealing with forgiveness, visit the Forgiveness section of this site.

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