When Your Spouse Hurts You: How to Forgive and Forget

Written by Dr. Dave Currie

sexlove_spouseforgiveForgive and forget. It’s a well-worn cliché – one that is easier to say than to practice.

If you’re married, you’ve been there. Your spouse has said or done something that has wounded you. It may be something small, or it may be a major betrayal. Either way, your pride screams at you to take revenge. If you don’t strike back immediately, you at least want to keep this “guilt card” in your pocket, to be pulled out at a later date: “Oh yeah, well what about the time when you….”

When we’ve been offended, the last thing we want to do is to let it go. And yet, if our desire is to have a healthy, lasting marriage, that is exactly what we’ve got to do. Here are seven suggestions to keep in mind when your spouse lets you down:

  1. Don’t start without your spouse
    If you need to talk to your spouse about something, don’t just corner them and launch in unexpectedly. That is a recipe for hostility. Instead, agree together on a time to discuss the issue. That gives each of you a chance to think about it in advance, which will result in a more productive discussion than if one partner simply lambastes the unsuspecting “offender”.
  2. Handle negative emotions responsibly
    When we react emotionally, we often say and do things that we later regret. In many cases, it is best to delay the discussion until you’ve settled down, gained a proper perspective, and prayed about your attitude. This will allow you to go into it looking for a solution, rather than just being consumed with your own hurt.As partners, you need to respect each other’s need to “take five”. If your spouse needs to wait a few minutes, or even a day or two, to cool down, don’t press the issue. This should not be used as an excuse to avoid the discussion entirely, but it is better to take some time to clear your head than to allow your emotions to take you somewhere that you don’t want to go.
  3. Deal with one issue at a time
    Remember that “guilt card” we mentioned earlier? Once you’re into the discussion, you will be tempted to pull it out. Soon, your conversation has deteriorated into a long list of offenses, as you try to outdo one another with everything that the other person has ever done wrong.  This only intensifies the conflict and deepens the divide between you. It can also be overwhelming to be presented with a massive list of things that need to change. Instead of being motivating, it’s discouraging.Instead, be content to solve one problem at a time. It is much better to make serious headway in one area of your relationship than to simply rehearse everything that needs fixing.
  4. Be clear about your perspective
    Give each other some uninterrupted time to share your concerns. If you are just trading barbs back and forth, neither of you will really be hearing the other – you’ll be too busy thinking about your next comeback.When it is your time to talk, try to help your mate understand your hurt or frustration. Help them to see why their actions and words had the impact that they did. Likewise, the offending spouse should have the opportunity to explain their words or behaviour. It could be that you have misinterpreted their motives, and when this is cleared up it goes along way towards solving the problem.
  5. Hold your relationship more dear than this issue
    Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our feelings or our “rights” that we lose sight of the bigger picture. People joke about marriages breaking up over toothpaste and toilet paper disputes, but it really happens! Remember that your relationship is the primary concern. You may have some issues to sort out, but you still love one another – and loving one another often means letting the other person be right.
  6. Walk in an attitude of forgiveness
    If you are going to live with this person for the next 20…30…50 years, you are going to have to forgive one another manytimes. You cannot afford to not forgive. Unforgiveness does not only hurt your spouse, it hurts you! As Corrie Ten Boom said, “Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, only to find out that the prisoner was me.”This brings us back to the issue of forgiving and forgetting. In truth, there are some hurts that you will never be able to forget. What is more important is that we choose to let it go. Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Forgiveness entails giving up your right to punish your spouse – whether through direct retaliation or just letting bitterness fester.Over the past year, I have discovered the value of “advance forgiveness”. I make a conscious decision that, the next time my wife Donalyn offends me, I am going to forgive her. Then, when it happens, I remember that I have already decided to forgive her, so there is no point in making a big deal out of it now. This really helps to take my critical edge off.
  7. Forgive as Christ forgave you – Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”And just how does the Lord forgive us? Fully. Unconditionally. Willingly. Time and time again.This kind of forgiveness is supernatural; it is more than we can do on our own. Particularly if your spouse has betrayed you in a major way, you may need to ask God for the ability to let go of the hurt and forgive them from your heart. But as you trust God to give you His strength and love, He will help you to forgive…even when your spouse has really let you down.

If you have never experienced God’s complete, unconditional forgiveness, know this: God loves you deeply. There is no sin that is so great that He is unwilling to forgive you, if you would just come to Him. If this is the desire of your heart, pray this prayer:

Dear God, I need You in my marriage, and in my life. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life, and that I cannot go on any further without Your help and guidance – and above all, Your forgiveness. I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for my sins. I now accept that sacrifice and invite Jesus to take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and empower me to live the life You have called me to. Thank You for forgiving me. Amen.

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314 Responses to “When Your Spouse Hurts You: How to Forgive and Forget”

  • Kitty says:

    MJCalhoun my sister, I am truly sorry about the incident, I want to say my husband, in one of our spats put his hands on me, I called the police they picked him up and I filed a restraining order, because the first marriage I had been in an abusive marriage where he said he was sorry and he would get help and it would stop well it went on for years…but the one thing I learned thru the experience is that I had to changed too!
    If there is drugs or alcohol involved, I would recommend Alan on and
    If there is local church a women’s bible study the best study I ever did to understand the needs and reasons of my husband’s behavior was this bible study:

    On the Other Side of the Garden: Biblical Womanhood Paperback – January 4, 2004
    by Virginia R. Fugate (Author), J. Richard Fugate

    A girlfriend who does a video overview of each chapter on facebook is amazing. Read the chapter, do the workbook for the chapter and view the video on facebook it will change your life, I promise you I feel in love with my husband all over again and he me, I had filed for divorce 2.5 years ago and this saved my marriage. ..

    https://www.facebook.com/ontheothersideofthegarden?fref=nf

  • MJCalhoun says:

    Amen
    Thank you Susan

  • Susan says:

    Jean,

    I am so sorry to hear about this incident. But, at the same time, I appreciate for that wonderful forgiving spirit. Like Chris said, Jesus is the answer for everything. Only Jesus can change your husband and heal you. Let’s look to Jesus.

    Father God,

    I commit this family. Lord, change Jean’s husband and draw him closer to You. Lord, fill Your love and peace in this marriage. Lord, heal Jean completely and help her to know You in a deeper way. Lord, bless Jean and I thank You for hearing our prayers. In Jesu’ name, Amen.

  • Susan says:

    MJCalhoun,

    Father God,

    I commit this couple in your hand. Lord, I pray that You restore this marriage, protect them. Thank You for hearing our prayers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • MJCalhoun says:

    Thank you Chris

  • Chris says:

    mjcalhoun…i pray to the father in jesus name that true healing comes to you and your husband so that you both can walk again in the unity of the holy spirit, being restored by jesus precious love and compassion, a bright future according to jeremiah 29.11 to 13 in his name amen

  • MJCalhoun says:

    So a week ago today my husband almost choked me to death. He has agreed to see someone and I do love him however Im not sure how to get past this.
    Please just say a prayer for me Gods will be done not mine.
    Thank you

  • kitty says:

    There is a show called “submissive wife” on the TCL that is awesome tooo

  • kitty says:

    Tonya, read the chapters, get the workbook work thru the book and then view the chapter on facebook she is a true blessing to all

  • kitty says:

    There is a workbook as well and here is my friends Facebook site…https://www.facebook.com/ontheothersideofthegarden?fref=nf

  • kitty says:

    Tonya-
    On the Other Side of the Garden: Biblical Womanhood Paperback – January 4, 2004
    by Virginia R. Fugate (Author), J. Richard Fugate (Editor), & 1 more
    25 customer reviews

  • Chris says:

    tonya Covington…i pray that jesus would console your heart in the knowledge that he is with you and your acceptance of him into your heart assures you of peace and joy in this life despite whatever is happening in your marriage. at the same time i pray for healing into your marriage relationship and that your husband like yourself, would come ever so close to christ who is love and the love in your lives in jesus name amen. knowingjesuspersonally.com

  • PLEASE EMAIL ME TO VIDEO AND THE AUTHOR OF TH BOOK. BEEN MARRIED 25YEARS TIRED OF CRYING MYSELF TO SLEEP

  • Kitty says:

    I am just blown away by all of this hurt, woman after woman feeling neglected, abused, rejected, I am so saddened my heartaches….if I could suggest one miracle book, it would be “The other side of the garden” it was a blessing to me. I thought I knew what it was to be a godly woman why did my 1st cheat and beat, why is my 2nd all messed up, abusive mean hateful secretive etc. .. I could go on, BUT GOD had to change me from the inside out I didn’t have a good role model and neither did he, I filed for divorce it was over for me. But you see it wasn’t over for GOD! God became my role model, he showed me my mistakes he changed me, molded me, to be really what I needed to truly be a GODLY WOMAN IN HIS EYES NOT MINE. I grew up during the sixties, liberation burning of the bras, we were going to be equal to men! THIS GOES AGAINST GOD’S PLAN FOR MARRIAGES TO WORK, I wanted to be treated equally, THIS GOES AGAINST ALL GOD INTENDED AND WOULD DESTROY MARRIAGES,men were all facetious pigs, THIS MA KS MARRIAGE IMPOSSIBLE, I don’t trust any man for that matter I don’t need him/them GOD MADE MARRIAGE TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE IF WE DO NOT NEED THEM HOW CAN WE PREPARE FOR GOD’S PLAN? Remember I thought all the things you all did, after 9 months of crying reading doing the study with a group of women, same thought process as mine I was kicking and screaming I realized God had a lot of work to do! And we had to get down and dirty to really get rid of some old bad behavior patterns that were destroying my marriage and had destroyed my first. That was 2.5 years ago needless to say, we are not divorced, we have had some major changes in our lives….there is a video blogger for this book she walks you thru each chapter, if your interested just respond to this message and I will forward you the link…blessings to all….

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