Learn To Forgive To Save Your Marriage

How to forgive your spouse and move on as a couple.
We're far from perfect -- even among the happiest couples, there will be times in the relationship when one party is going to do something insensitive that hurts the other, however unintentionally.

Be it that he forgot your birthday, neglected to help with the housework, or that he flirted with the waitress a tad too much -- anything that makes you so resentful that you hold on to a grudge.

But the key to a successful relationship isn't a fault-free one. It's about learning to forgive your other half, and moving on together as a couple, say relationship experts.

Why holding a grudge is dangerous

Resentment can quickly poison a relationship. If you're unable to forgive your partner, you can't have true intimacy and it's all downhill from there. You mentally keep score, and make a list of his transgressions, and every time you try to be intimate, that list is going to come between you. "So you may have sex, for instance, but it won't be truly nurturing if you're holding on to things that your partner did wrong in the past," says Shya Kane, a consultant and author of How To Create A Magical Relationship.

When you can't let go, it's also a recipe for more fights. "If you cannot forgive your partner for something, then you are going to bring it up from time to time, triggering arguments, which are never healthy for a relationship," adds Will Irvin, author of Missing Pieces: 21 Secrets Of A Successful Relationship. Or, if you are not the type to bring things up, it will just fester inside you and all that anger can be destructive.

That's why it's important to forgive. You don't have to forget, but learning the skill of forgiveness is a vital process to let your hurt -- and your relationship -- heal.

Of course, that's not to say that you should turn a blind eye to things that your partner does that do not work for you, says Kane. You have to be honest with each other about what's acceptable behavior and what isn't. If whatever angered you isn't entirely a deal-breaker, you can learn to forgive and move on.

Strategies for moving forward

Let it go
If it's a minor slip-up, like he's left the toilet seat up again, just make a conscious effort to get over it. You can keep a list of little offenses and literally carry them around with you, but they're really not worth it.

Talk it out
If you're upset with something your partner did, don't bottle it up or seethe in silence. Calmly talk to your partner about the problem and why you're so upset. Getting it out of your chest will help clear the air. "Find out why they did what they did," says Irvin. Often, you'll be surprised that he may not even be aware that he's hurt your feelings.

Adopt the habit of gratitude
You may be fuming right now, but take a pause to think of the brighter side -- be grateful for all the positive things that's happening in your relationship, and the life you have created together.

Seek help
If you can't move past whatever he's done, consider seeing a marriage or relationship counselor who can offer helpful input and objective advice.

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