It was our third year of marriage and I hated who I had become.
Where was the fun, passionate and empathetic Meygan I once was? I was resentful, angry all the time, easily triggered, and found myself crying randomly because of the pain I was experiencing from my failing marriage. I will never forget the moment I looked at myself in the mirror and said these exact words out loud:
“I’m done and I’m no longer living this way.”
It was a very pivotal moment in my life as I began the process of learning what it takes to become emotionally healthy. I started going to therapy and read every book on communication and self-awareness that I could get my hands on. I started making friends with women who were also longing for healing.
But the most important thing I did in 2006 was walk through the process of forgiving my husband.
Now, you have to understand that I hated my husband. Not just disliked him, but hated who he was and how he treated me. My heart was so cold towards him and to start forgiving him meant that I was going to have to let him off the hook for the pain he caused me. Man, did that seem unfair! And he wasn’t even sorry. In fact, he blamed me for most of our marriage issues, so how in the world could I forgive him? What did that process look like? Where do I even start? What if he never recognizes the pain he’s caused me? What if he keeps hurting me over and over again?
If you’re in a situation like I was, where you can recognize that you’ve become angry, bitter, resentful, depressed, and triggered, I want you to know that it’s time for you to choose forgiveness. Yes, I say choose because rarely do we just feel like forgiving our spouse when they’ve hurt us. It’s a choice, a vulnerable choice, to let them off the hook for causing you pain.
Forgiveness means that you let go of the past so it doesn’t carry into your future. Forgiveness has NOTHING to do with your spouse and has EVERYTHING to do with you. Choosing to forgive your spouse will set you free of the pain.
So if you’re ready, I invite you to watch our video How To Forgive Your Spouse where my husband (who I now love again and have forgiven years ago, by the way) walks you through the forgiveness process because that’s what it is, a step-by-step process. You don’t just verbally say “I forgive you” and all the pain magically goes away. It doesn’t work that way.
We talk about what you can do if your spouse isn’t apologetic and doesn’t recognize your hurt feelings. We give you the explanation as to why so many spouses are struggling with forgiving one another and also techniques to move forward with your life so you’re not stuck feeling miserable and resentful. This video will give you the hope and direction you’re wanting and needing… I promise. To watch our video, click here.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself and/or your spouse to get you thinking about the topic of forgiveness and how it plays out in your life and marriage:
Who is the first person that comes to mind if you were asked about the greatest hurt in your life? What thoughts and/or triggers come up when you think about that person?
Has there been a time when someone in your life hurt you and you didn’t choose to forgive? If so do you like the person you have become while holding on to this pain?
Has there been a time in your life where you hurt others close to you? Have you had a chance to apologize? If you did apologize, did they forgive you?
Do you believe that some things in life are unforgivable? Explain.
Are there any areas in your life where you need to let yourself off the hook, meaning that you need to forgive yourself?
Who has been the best example of forgiveness, both historical and in your own life?
If you carry un-forgiveness for a specific person, what are you hoping happens to them? Carry your thoughts all the way through. Do you think that judgment is fair?
(For parents:) What are some ways you can model and incorporate forgiveness to your kids?
I did choose to forgive my husband and it took about a year. I did a complete change in my life and because I chose to forgive him, his actions and words no longer triggered me. I was more patient and understanding because I knew he was hurting and was in an unhealthy place just like I had been. In one year, my husband noticed the change in me and said, “I want what you have.”
While we cannot control our spouse, we can have a positive and healthy influence over them. So when it comes to forgiveness, it all starts with working on you and it’s the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself.
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Written by Meygan Caston
Meygan Caston is the co-founder of Marriage365 and lives in Orange County, California with her husband Casey and their two children. She loves the beach, dance parties, writing, spa days, and helping couples connect in their marriage. Her life-long dream is to walk the Camino, have lunch with Brené Brown, and get on The Price is Right.