Tip for Success in Love, Marriage, and Life:
Vincent and Veronica have been married for over 20 years. Like most long-term married couples they have had their ups and downs. However, both would tell you that marriage is strong. Well, that was until Veronica discovered that Vincent had been having an affair.
Veronica was devastated. When she confronted Vincent, he denied it. But a few days later admitted that it was true. He said he was sorry, and that the person didn’t really mean anything to him. “It was a casual fling, and I broke it off”, he said. “I’m sorry. What can I do to make this up to you? I love you and don’t want to lose you. I’ll do anything”
There was a tense silence in their home for several days. Most of those days were filled with tears for Veronica. She was embarrassed to tell her family or close friends because they all believed that she had a dream marriage.
By the fifth day when Vincent begged her to forgive him, she told him she wasn’t sure she wanted to continue in the marriage.
She wanted to start individual counseling to sort out her feelings and figure out her options. She also wanted to make sure that the decisions she made going forward were not based on resentment and wanting to get revenge.
After a couple of months of individual counseling, Veronica told Vincent she was willing to try couples counseling to decide if their marriage was worth saving and if healing was possible from the affair.
Vincent was relieved to know he had a chance to make things right. Veronica continued with her individual sessions to process her feelings while she joined Vincent for couples counseling.
Working things through was not easy. And it took time before true healing and repair began to occur.
Although they both consider their journey as a work in progress as they move forward, their goals for healing and repair were clear. Achievement of two of those goals was based on Vincent’s willingness to not only apologize but to make amends. The goal for Veronica was based on her willingness to forgive.
Vincent decided to get additional support to stay on track with his goal, so he made appointments for individual counseling. He began to understand the root of the problem for him and the inappropriate choices he made. He wanted to make sure he didn’t unconsciously sabotage his plan to make amends. He made a commitment to himself to make consistent behavior changes to repair the pain he caused and to rebuild the broken trust.
As Veronica continued her personal work, she explored the idea of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the third “Pillar for Success in Love Marriage and Life”.
To us, forgiveness means the desire and willingness of both partners to release and let go of past and present mistakes, disappointments, grudges, hurts, and other negative judgments about oneself and/or one’s spouse. It is the willingness to give up our demands that we, or our partners, be “perfect” — a state that is humanly impossible to achieve. We are often spared the full consequences of our human folly; not because we necessarily deserve it but because of grace.
When spouses and love mates hurt each other, repair for healing is mandatory. The process of forgiveness — not just the words is the first step. Forgiveness is necessary for releasing inner turmoil. It provides an opportunity to learn from inappropriate choices and decisions and make new ones that bring out the best version of both partners.
Forgiveness – alex-shute-b7QwXDDEwv8-unsplash
This is what forgiveness looks like for Vincent and Veronica:
Forgiveness for Vincent is self-forgiveness for his inappropriate decisions and actions that caused Veronica pain. The second part was making amends to the represented and reflecting the lasting change
Self-forgiveness for Veronica includes any way she gave herself a hard time or blamed herself for Vincent’s choices. It was important for her not to become a victim because of the affair.
It was also important for Veronica to work through and to release feelings of resentment and bitterness so that her mental and physical health was not in jeopardy.
What About You?
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How do you handle offenses and hurt feelings in your relationship?
Is there an area for forgiveness and making amends in your relationship?
What happens when you talk about it?
Is there an area where forgiveness is needed to overcome bitterness and resentment?
On a scale of 1 – 10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how satisfied are you with how the both of you of work through hurtful situations between you?
Stay tuned for Pillar #4 Marriage and Life: Empathy
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