Oftentimes when we think of being the person who forgives others for wronging us, it feels like a place of weakness. It can trigger anxiety, feelings of rejections, or ideas that you are not worthy and that is why our friends, or our partners may have rejected or offend us. For the purpose of this post I want to look at this from a marital relationship in the case of an adulterous spouse. I will start off by saying we are not the reason for any actions our partners take. We can influence or motivate but you can not cause or make anyone do anything they would not do otherwise. When a partner is unfaithful to you and have committed adultery within your marriage it can feel devastating, and the first train of thought is usually to wonder what you did to deserve this? The answer is nothing. There are so many reasons why they may choose to look outside of your relationship and none of them are you.
How relationships are going, your state of happiness and how you are relating to each other can influence your spouse’s decisions. However, in the same way you are in the relationship and are experiencing those same difficulties but have chosen not to take that path, your spouse is able to do so as well. It will take you to consciously recognize that brokenness, past relationships and experiences, family curses and or bondages and personal traumas greatly influence your spouse’s actions and decisions. I say all this to explain that you taking on your spouses actions and personalizing them to be something you did or didn’t do and tormenting yourself, replaying and reliving an already painful experience in order to find answers or meaning is futile. Where you come into play is in forgiveness. When you take a marriage vow the words that you say are in sickness and health, better or worst, rich or for poor until death do us part. You have committed in those few short statements to forgive, endure, empathize and see things through with all aspects of your partner, not just some.
For myself, realizing that having the grace to forgive did not make me weak but instead made me highly favored and loved by God was key to me being able to forgive. God loved me so much that he granted me the grace to forgive during my own pain. It did not make me foolish or weak, in fact, it was a conscious choice and understanding that forgiving is the place in which I was able to exercise my true strength, love. Knowing the failure and down falls of the other person and yet still. Knowing that there is a possibility that they can offend me in the same way again but being embolden and strong to know I have already chosen to forgive them. Knowing that you do not need to change who you are because of how someone else treats you is powerful. I have always believed that there are certain ways of thinking that can empower you in difficult situations. It is easy to take things negatively, to be defeated and downcast when things go unexpectedly. But you can ask yourself where is my strength in this, or how can I grow strong from this? I promise you without fail it will change how you look at your circumstances.
Everywhere I turned or looked for advise as I went through my experience, everything and everyone said that you should move on with your life, you can remarry you can forgive but don’t forget and for a while I bought into it. I believed that was the way to go. I had my eye-opening moment when listening to a conversation between two pastors talking about the possibility of reconciliation which is God intended purpose being taken away when a spouse remarries. I realized in that moment what was taken away is the sanctity and the covenant of marriage and it was made into a conditional experience, with many reasons and ways out. My thought process is that. if this is the case why get married at all? Why say the words in sickness or health, good or for bad until death do us part when you do not mean them? I could be wrong, but I believe that for good or for bad means just that otherwise marriage vows should be written with clauses…’in sickness or in health but don’t loose any body parts’. I say that to be facetious but isn’t that something to think about? Love endures all things, forgives all things, and has hope in all things. I know that there are situations that are extreme but even our worst enemies can be transformed by love and forgiveness and that is the brand of Jesus. I believe that loving someone and forgiving them should not be a choice to be ignorant but I choice to understand the realm that you are operating in with this person and choosing to love them still. Expecting nothing in return but to connect with them as humans, flawed and in need of forgiveness. This kind of love is habitual, a conscious and liberating choice.