The need for forgiveness among couples
When we hold resentment and hatred toward someone who has hurt us, we are holding on to a negative attachment toward that individual. Unresolved or unhealed hurt and resentment can make us think andfeel negatively about ourselves and others. It can make us sick. It can make us do andsay things that hurt us and others.One of the ways to have a release from these negative affect is to forgive the transgressor. As a result of forgiveness according to Mc McCullough, there will be an increased prosocial motivation toward another such that 1) the desire to harm or take revenge toward the person reduces significantly 2) there is an increased desire to act positively toward that person. Robert Enright defines forgiveness as a “willingness to abandon one’s right to resentment, negative judgement, and indifferent behaviour toward one who unjustly hurt us, while fostering the undeserved qualities of compassion, generosity and even love toward him or her. An attitude of forgives reflects empathy, understanding and making new meaning”. Psychologists do agree that empathy is a precursor to forgiveness.
Marital infidelities can cause deep hurt as a result of betrayal of trust. One of the steps toward help couple work around their relationship is to help them prepare for forgiveness. In this regards, the first step is to help the couple share their life experiences and develop a realistic appraisal of their relationship. The second step is to help the spouse free him/her from the ruminative, negative affect held toward the other who caused the hurt or pain.Finally, the third step is to help the couple feel good about themselves, their relationship and work toward a reconciliation.
When couple forgive each other and let go of the past resentment toward each other that opens room for enhanced communication, trust and intimacy. The one who seeks forgiveness demonstrates trust and humility. The one who forgives, demonstrates greater acceptance and empathy. Saying “sorry” or “forgive me” or “pardon me” can be part of couple’s daily communication in order to increase between couple trust,intimacy, a sense of equality and mutuality.
Bibliography: Positive psychology by C.R. Snyder and Shane J. Lopez.