Delaware Relationship Therapist: Forgiveness in Relationships

June 28, 2015 by

Delaware Relationship Therapist: Forgiveness in RelationshipsWhen we form a loving relationship with someone, we open our hearts and make ourselves vulnerable. We give our partner the power to make us feel on top of the world, but also to hurt us where we are most sensitive. Your partner will inevitably hurt you during the course of your relationship, either intentionally or otherwise. It could be a careless comment about your weight or profession, or it could be a more serious offense, like committing infidelity.

We can’t control our partner’s words or actions, but we can control how we respond to their behavior. So when your partner says or does something that hurts you, how will you respond?

For many of us, the natural choice is to retaliate, exact revenge, or hold a grudge. But this kind of negative response can be harmful to both your personal well-being and the health of your relationship. Harboring negative feelings towards your partner can cause anxiety, raise your blood pressure, and even decrease your life expectancy. In the end, holding a grudge or plotting revenge against your partner hurts you a lot more than it hurts them.

Alternatively, if you respond with forgiveness and let go of bitterness and animosity, you may not only feel happier and healthier yourself, but improve your relationship. When you forgive your partner for a wrong, you allow your relationship to heal. You are able to take on a new perspective, moving beyond your feelings of the moment and looking towards the future.

Tips on Relationship Forgiveness

To help couples partner through the process, I’ve listed some tips on relationship forgiveness below.

Consider the value of forgiveness. Think about how focusing on the harm causes unnecessary suffering, and all the benefits forgiveness may bring. For instance, you won’t feel anxious or unhappy, and you won’t be constantly obsessing over the incident.

Make a decision to forgive. When you’re ready, make an active decision to forgive your partner. Commit to letting go of your negative feelings and moving past the incident that has caused you so much pain.

Empathize. Reflect on things you may have done wrong, and try to understand why your partner may have acted the way they did. There may be outside events or pressures that contributed to the offense. Rather than excusing the action, this new way of thinking may help you understand your partner better and see them as a human.

Healing. During the process of forgiveness, you may feel a sense of emotional release and new meaning in our relationship. After forgiving your partner and moving on, you may feel happier and stronger in your relationship than ever before.

If you are trying to heal from an emotional injury in your relationship, don’t hesitate to give the Delaware Relationship Therapist a call. I can help to guide you and your partner through the forgiveness process and provide you with support through discussion of sensitive concerns.


Walt Ciecko, Ph. D., BCB
1301 North Harrison Street, Suite 101
Wilmington, DE 19806
302-429-0195 Ext 1