Love, Heartbreak

How To Forgive Your Spouse In 7 (Relatively) Painless Steps

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Forgiveness is a process that takes work and time. It's not an invitation to be treated poorly or a sign of weakness; forgiving someone takes a lot of strength. Here are eight ways to help release resentment toward your spouse and make your marriage stronger.

1. Write it out. Jot down what happened and how it made you feel. Writing everything down will help you process your feelings and release you from being upset.

2. Find peace within yourself. Practice some sort of stress management exercise like walking, meditation, or yoga to help you calm down and prevent the cascade of angry thoughts.

3. Take inventory. Cultivate your husband's good qualities. He's not all bad, is he? Which of his traits do you admire most? Write them down on a piece of paper and glance at the list every few days.

4. Be empathetic. Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else's shoes. Trying to understand where your partner is coming from and what he was grappling with at the time can ease irritation and encourage compassion. 

5. Have gratitude. Nobody's perfect, and that includes you. Be thankful for the things your spouse tolerates and accepts in you.

6. Change the story. Rather than looking back and thinking "poor me," come up with a stronger narrative where you're not just a victim. For example, tell yourself that every couple struggles with hurt at one time or another and, right now, you're that couple.

7. Be kind to yourself. Forgiveness isn't an "event" that happens in an instant, so don't beat yourself up if you have setbacks. Be gentle with yourself; it'll happen when you're ready.

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