Is forgiveness the key to a happy marriage?

A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers. ~ unknown

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. When I think about my grandparents celebrating their 55th anniversary, 15 years seems trivial. But compared to some matches made these days, 15 years is an eternity!

Regardless of how it compares to everyone else, our marriage has worked for all of these years, and I think that's due in part to our willingness to forgive each other.

I’m not a psychiatrist, family counselor or marriage expert, but I am an observer. And one thing I have noticed is that successful couples always list "forgiveness" as one of the most important things to master.

Think about this: the last time you and your spouse had an argument, who apologized first? Did anyone? Or did you sweep it under the proverbial rug?

We have all been hurt by someone else's actions. It doesn’t matter if it was a spouse, coworker or a best friend. It hurts, and it's tempting to seek revenge or hold onto it for some future relationship blackmail.

But one thing we know from research is that carrying grudges 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
  • Increased self-confidence

Being unforgiving creates unhealthy stress. To forgive is to say, “I care enough about myself to let go of my anger and disappointment” or, depending on the situation, “I care enough about you and our relationship to forgive you.”

Even in the worst of situations, forgiveness is still key to healing because you cannot move on without it.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are “letting them off the hook” for bad behavior. You are 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 get into an argument with a coworker, ask yourself, “Is this worth my anger? Or worth sacrificing 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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