As divorce rates remain unchanged and families continue to split apart, couples who love each other are being turned off to the idea of saying 'I do.' However, if all couples would follow one simple rule, marital bliss could truly be attainable.
The rule is simply this: forgive. This is sincerely the best thing you can do in your marriage and really the only way to keep your marriage intact for the rest of your life. Forgiveness is a voluntary and intentional process by which you have a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense.
It takes letting go of negative emotions such as anger or vengefulness, and the ability to wish the offender well. Studies have shown that forgiveness inspires love and can be healing in many ways.
Use these tips to keep forgiveness, not bitterness, at the heart of your marriage:
1. Look at both sides of the story.
There are often simple explanations for frustrating behavior, but you have to be willing to see both sides. Too often, spouses jump to conclusions and immediately go into a blaming or defensive mode instead of looking reasonably at both sides of the story. If everyone looked at themselves first before attacking their partners, many fights would be dispersed before they even began. When you can view both sides honestly, it is easier to find forgiveness because you see what part you contributed in the fight.
2. Practice a policy of open honesty, but not necessarily all the time.
Some spouses operate on the premise that honesty is the best policy no matter the circumstances. In reality, this is not true in marriage. Telling your wife she looks ten pounds heavier than she did a year ago is not going to help either one of you. If you are furious about something your husband did, it is usually better to not bring that subject up right away.
Let the anger abate so you can discuss the situation in civil terms. When you hear that honesty is important in a marriage, it is. But it doesn't mean cruelty or lack of tact is necessary. Honesty means not lying about how much you spent shopping and if your husband asks how you are, do not say 'fine' when you don't mean it. If you need to, schedule a time each week that is your 'honest' time. When you have both had a chance to air your grievances, it will be easier to follow number 1 above.
3. Imagine your spouse dying or leaving you.
This isn't something that you usually hear recommended in a marriage. But it is a simple and powerful way to remind yourself of how much you love your spouse. When you are feeling especially angry, think about how you would feel if he or she died before you sorted out your feelings. Would this incident be of importance? This is not to say that you should pretend to be happy all the time because he or she might die. This is just another way to look at your marriage and realize how much you do love each other and want the marriage to go forward.
3. Think about how forgiving will also help you.
Holding on to negative feelings and grudges is extra emotional weight you don't need.
You have likely upset your spouse at times too. There is no way to exist in any long term relationship without some misunderstandings and doing unintentional harm. Forgiving will be freeing for you and is likely to bring you the same in return from your partner.
By following these simple guidelines, you will find that you can forgive your husband or wife more quickly. Throughout your relationship, you will frequently have moments of "rupture and repair." There are times you both go off course and will need to correct it. This is quite normal. Love always follows forgiveness. So, put these ideas into practice to strengthen your bond and ensure that you are truly together until death do you part.