Forgiveness is the decision or 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 it can allow reconciliation to take place in the relationship.
It is also important to be clear about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not forgetting, condoning, or perpetuating injustice. 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. Don’t rush your partner if they need to spend days or weeks working through the process of 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 not 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,” but insist on being treated better in the future.
- Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity toward your partner.
- Communicate your act of forgiveness to your partner.
- Work toward reconciliation (when safe).
excerpt from prepare-enrich couples booklet © Copyright 2008, 2015