Forgiveness for Lovers
Forgiveness for Lovers
Forgiveness is a commonly used but most frequently misunderstood spiritual and psychological concept. Most people think of forgiveness as something that lets the perpetrator off the hook without consequences for their hurtful act. This rather simplistic view of forgiveness appears to have no benefit for the hurt or harmed person. From his or her point of view, then, there is no clear reason or motivation to forgive. If this is the operable definition of true forgiveness then few of us will consider it even for the one we love the most.
What is needed, however, is not a rejection of forgiveness but a more developed definition and description of what it actually does for both the perpetrator and the victim. In Christian theology, forgiveness, as taught by Jesus, is a free gift of grace that heals both the perpetrator and the victim. He advised his followers to forgive 70 times 7, a number so large that it made it clear that one should let go of counting and make forgiveness a way of life. This radical directive was and is designed to change the lives and relationships of both the wounder and the wounded. It not only frees the perpetrator from guilt and shame and instills a sense of gratefulness, it also releases the one harmed from anger, resentment and hatred. Finally, it clears the blockages between the two parties and makes a new relationship possible. This then is the deeper meaning of forgiveness that applies so powerfully to romantic lovers.
Every couple eventually has difficulties and in the midst of stress, one or the other will accidently or on purpose hurt the other. Tempers may flare and hurtful words and actions may fly and suddenly one or both are wounded. Once a wound occurs, whatever the depth, it is crucial for both lovers to quickly remember how precious their relationship is and act to heal the rift. It is the memory of and commitment to the ultimate value of their love for each other that will provide the strength to move toward forgiveness rather than disconnection and more hurt. This remembrance requires maturity and a willingness to make love more important than ego. Being immature and self-righteously right at these moments will block the process of healing and widen the gap between both partners.
The key to healing hurt between lovers is a prior shared commitment to hold their love as primary and make forgiveness a first choice when harm occurs. This decision is akin to building a house of love and placing a fire extinguisher (forgiveness) in every room. It is a form of wise preparation that will protect their home from any and all nasty sparks that suddenly appear. Forgiveness is then both a protection and a gift that a loving couple give themselves to ensure the strength and longevity of their relationship.
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