The Marriage Podcast for Smart People

starstarstarstarstar

Build a Marriage You’ll Love Today and Treasure for a Lifetime

RSS Feed URL

The Marriage Podcast for Smart People navigateright Episode

How To Forgive Your Spouse After Betrayal

How could they do this to you? After everything you’ve been through together, after everything you’ve promised each other, they just set that aside and betrayed you, the one they claimed to love the most. When your spouse has hurt you deeply, it’s natural to feel incredible grief, anger, and pain because of what they did. It can be difficult to talk about forgiveness after the most painful of betrayals. But at some point, you do need to address it because, in order to heal, you also need to forgive. Maybe you’re not ready right now. That’s okay. Come back to this article when you are. But right now, let’s look at what it means to forgive after a betrayal, and what it will take to get there from here. Forgiving a Betrayal Forgiveness is more than just a single decision, particularly when dealing with deep hurt. It’s a journey of many steps, a process filled with difficult, sometimes painful decisions. The process of forgiveness is what brings you from feelings of ill-will or malicious intentions (i.e. revenge, punishment, avoidance, or hatred) to having a sense of “benevolent emotion”. You know that you have forgiven when you are able to have warm, kind thoughts about the person who has wronged you. When you make the shift from negative feelings about your spouse to positive ones. That won’t happen all at once; as you forgive, you will still be angry and hurt even as you start to build that benevolent emotion towards them. Again, this is a process. And this forgiveness is something that you need, your marriage needs. In order for you and your marriage to be healthy, you need to forgive. Not the day after a betrayal. You need a chance to vent your anger, to grieve, to understand what’s happened before starting this journey. Depending on the betrayal, this might take weeks or even months. And that’s okay! But when you are in a place where you’re ready to forgive, and when you are in a safer place where betrayal in marriage is no longer likely, you’ll find it’s time to take that first step towards forgiveness. How To Forgive Betrayal in Marriage One of the reasons that forgiveness of a grave offense is so difficult is that it involves reframing. That is to say, you will need to take a close look at the betrayal, your betrayer, yourself, and then your relationship from a more positive perspective. It will take a lot of time and effort, but it will be worth it! 1. Reframe the Action The first difficult step in the process is reframing what your spouse did to you. You will have to see what they did from a point of empathy, which will help you towards forgiveness by lessening the anger and blame you feel. And boy, is that tough! Empathy means seeing the world through some else’s perspective. And when you have been betrayed, it means changing how you view the betrayal. In order to better understand it, you need to retrace how and why it happened. This is not about excusing your spouse for what happened because ultimately it was their decision to do it. Empathy means taking in the bigger picture of what was happening to them in the larger trajectory of their life that contributed to their terrible decision. When you are able to understand the how and the why of the betrayal, you are able to gain a more objective perspective of it. And as a result of reframing their action, you will start to feel relief from your feelings of anger against your spouse and what they did to you. 2. Reframe How You Feel When you’ve been betrayed in marriage, you will naturally focus your attention on the hurt and the pain of it all. This is why it’s important to reframe the action by empathizing with your spouse. It will also help you to reframe how you feel about them. By reframing, you begin to restore the balance of your feelings about your spouse. After all, there is far more to who your spouse is then the wrong that they did to you. And by seeing the bigger picture,