Is forgiveness the key to a happy marriage?

My husband and I have been married for nearly 15 years. I remember my grandparent's 55th wedding anniversary celebration. When I think about them, our 15 years seems trivial, but compared to many unions made in Hollywood, 15 years is eternal.

Regardless of how it compares to everyone else, I think our relationship has worked for all of these years simply because we want it to work.

I’m neither a psychiatrist or marriage expert. But I am an observer and a reader, and when I see marriages that last, there is a common theme that emerges and it is forgiveness.

The last time you and your significant other got into a fight, who apologized first? Or, did anyone ever say "I'm sorry" or did it just get swept under the rug?

We have all been hurt by someone's actions. It doesn’t matter if it was a spouse, coworker or a best friend, it hurts to feel betrayed by someone you love.

Research tells us that holding a grudge negatively impacts our emotional, physical and mental well-being. People who forgive experience: 

  • Reduced physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, backaches and stomachaches;
  • Decreased depression and
  • Increased self-confidence

To forgive is to say, “I care enough about myself to let go of my anger and disappointment” rather than, "I don't care what you did to me, it's ok." You can forgive the person without forgiving or forgetting the act.

Depending on the situation, “I care enough about you and our relationship to forgive you.”  Or even, “I care enough about myself and my children to make some changes.” Even in the worst of situations, forgiveness is still key to healing because you cannot move on without it.

Forgiveness is allowing yourself the freedom to move on from your anger and resentment, and find other ways to work things out rather than seek revenge.

So, the next time you think your marriage is on the rocks or you get into an argument with a coworker, ask yourself, “Is this worth my anger? Or my health?”

If you’re honest with yourself, the answer is probably no, and that simple admission will put you well on your way toward healthier relationships! Hug it out, and move on.

Source: Psychology Today

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