I really need to add an important subtopic to yesterday’s article. I started to just edit and add the piece in, but I thought it needed it’s own article.
The key element in the whole Mistake + Apology + Forgiveness + Penance = Stronger Relationship is “Forgiveness”. In the same way an apology can be only in words and very superficial, one can commit the same disservice to your mate by offering a thinly-veiled plan to get revenge by accepting the apology. Just saying the words “I forgive you” can be as meaningless as the apology if there is no intention to truly forgive your mate. The offending party has duties, and so does the offended party.
When you forgive your mate, you do so with the hope of salvaging a relationship and wanting to make your bond stronger. This will not happen if you are holding a grudge, still angry and wanting to punish your loved one for committing the offense. When you forgive, forgive. Don’t hold the grudge. Don’t try and punish your mate. And don’t hold him or her hostage at finger-point. The feelings that linger will fester like a sore on your love for each other–both ways, in fact–and when it crusts over and seems to heal, it will leave a nasty blemish. Honestly, if you don’t have it in you to truly forgive, then do so. But if you will just badger your mate with reminders of where he/she went wrong, taking revenge (“Well, since you stepped out, I’m going out every chance I get!”) on your mate, and bringing up those old salty feelings every time you think of it–you show that you are still resentful and you are ensuring that your mate’s apology will eventually be taken back.
Think of our justice system, in which those who are convicted of crimes supposedly pay their dues to society, get out, and then can’t get a job because every direction they turn they are discriminated against. Why? Because although the penal system has “forgiven” them (by letting them out), society holds their crime over their heads and won’t allow them to enjoy the benefits of being truly forgiven. And what happens to him then? Society forces him back into the life he led that caused his imprisonment in the first place, he has no choice. Because he was told that he was forgiven, but he wasn’t.
When you are benevolent enough to keep your relationship together by allowing your loved one to get a second chance, give them that chance. Don’t cripple his or her efforts to make it right by not letting go of the pain. If you have a good man or good woman, believe me the guilt alone is tormenting them. Last thing needed to help in the healing process is for him to regret being given the second chance, and for you to stay diseased with resentment. Give it a chance.
In addition to this process is the process of healing. So you were wronged. The anger or hurt is there, and it won’t go away overnight. You may have to discuss it often over time in order for the pain to subside. You might need extra reassurance. It may help to take a trip somewhere and escape the stress of the world around you, and just envelope yourself in your mate’s presence. Do what you need to do in order to heal. Because if you don’t heal, you won’t be able to fully forgive your lover and get past the pain. Most of the time you are able to heal and regain strength with the assistance of your loved one. Sometimes, you must do it alone.
I am sitting next to a gentleman (edit: His name is “Raymond”. Good luck brother!) here in this coffee shop, whose estranged wife lives in Atlanta, and he is here in California. He loves her. I heard him on the phone with her, telling her what he was up to (she called him), hoping she was okay. And just when they were about to hang up, he rushes to tell her how much he loves her, how important she is to him, and that he thinks of her all the time. I hear in this brother’s voice the sound of pain, but overpowering the pain is the presence of love–and that heals all. I don’t know their situation, but all of us men have been there at some point in our lives. No doubt this woman loves him, as he does her, and her scent is all over his soul… to the point that he talked to a complete stranger about the woman he loves, who is 3000 miles away from here. And not a single good-looking woman who walked into this crowded cafe even drew a glance from his eyes while he spoke.
If that isn’t the makings of a good reason to salvage a relationship, I don’t know what is.
Regardless of what you and your man, you and your woman are going through, if you both love each other, you can get past it. But it will take some serious work and reflection to make it happen.
Thanks for visiting my blog.