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.


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

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Viera, thanks for reaching out to Jen with your encouraging words.

    Jen, sorry to hear about the difficulties you dealing with. We are called to forgive those that have wronged us, but it takes time to rebuild trust in that person back. Perhaps you and your husband can talk with a pastor at church or seek marriage counseling so the two of you can have a much better chance of working through all this.

  • Ollie Asbury says:

    I am so hurt and the fights is worse. What do I do when m husband admits to my face like this? About his sexual affair with a
    Girl 52 yrs ago 1961 and 1962 when I was carrying our daughter and she worked at a beer joint and restaurant combined
    when he drove a
    A taxi and he was sneaking taking her going to her home after work. These words blew me and cut me like a knife. Here are
    The words. “”I had sex with one girl and after I did it, I felt so guilty I got up and left”” And then the next morning we sat at the
    Kitchen table as I was going to tell him I was going out with our daughters. He never let me speak till he said all at once hurting
    Me again blurting out to me. “”I had it in’er how else was I suppose to come?”” Then in 1964 he did it again when I was
    Carrying our last son and had sex with another girl in our car. Lied about it after I found her shoes in the back of our car
    And his cousin and uncle told me they belonged to a another girl he was running around and riding in his car. He had done
    sold everything in our home and my 7 kids and me had no home to go back to. I never was so hurt in all my life to find these
    Things out. Now he’s 85 still active although he’s impotent he can still come without an erection just by kissing. I am 79 still have desires of my own. So what do I do with all this hurt bottled up inside me? I will never forget it as long as I live.

  • Viera says:

    Jen..May God give you strength and love and hope through Jesus. With Jesus you can truly forgive and love again, I know I had to forgave, and learn to love my husband again after cheating too. God bless you.

  • jen says:

    Viera, thank you so much for getting back to me. I know that i need to let go of this and continiue our lives together. I know i am not the easiest person to live with becouse i am so fiesty and speak my words even if i dont mean them… I am praying to our Lord that he gives me streinght and hope and that everything will be ok. My husband is a very good man, but he hurt me and i know i have to truly forgive him! I need him to stop drinking bc he drinks every night ever since i found out of his mistake. when i married i wanted to be forever and wanted to have kids but we dont have kids… all i know is that he is a good man, and i am a good woman, and we do have to fix this. My Lord Jesus will help him and I, in that name I pray AMEN!

  • Viera says:

    Jen..I know cheating is hard. If I can say something I would suggest to forgive your husband and leave it all behind, if your husband is truly sorry. Forgiveness also means that you will not remind him his mistake and talking about that girl. If bad thoughts will come reject them and trust and pray to Jesus over your marriage. Live in peace. All hidden things will be revealed one day. You gave him second change so don’t turn back, look forward that this his mistake can make your marriage stronger. God forgive us many times and he trust us too so with his help you can trust your husband again.

  • Chris Chris says:

    jen…so sorry to hear of your situation. as humans, both husbands and wives, we know that there are temptations we will face during the length of our married lives. we must recognize those and ask God for help in avoiding and overcoming them. sometimes a spouse may not have a relationship with God and therefore succumbs to temptation easier than a husband should. in all cases however, the marriage vows need to be sustained at whatever the cost and this i believe needs the help of christ to fulfill. you can lead in this by permitting jesus to be the lord of your life, so your husband can see the changes in you and want them for himself. why not log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above to find out more on how to enjoy your married and earthly lives together once more. i pray you would set your sights on christ today and realice that he alone can make the changes we need to have made. amen

  • Jen says:

    I have been married with my husband for 6 years, we unfortunally don’t have any kids but I had 3 miscarriages. Back in 2011 my husband was away with work in Mexico and when he got back from his long trip I felt that something was wrong and every time i asked him what is going on he would always deny. But i felt there was something going on and i decided to let it go and continiue our lives together. So last october of 2014 he said that he have a trip coming for 3 weeks and i believed him since his job requeres lots of traveling. When he got back he was all over me and i felt loved and wanted, but then one morning i decided to go through his stuff and to find out that he lied to me..he was visiting some girl that he met back in 2011 and he spend those 3 weeks exploring her country and coulture. I was in such shock that i just wanted to leave. But we talked and talked, and somehow i stayed, i only stayed bc i knew that he loves me and that he knows that he made terribele mistake. So as the days, months goes by I cant believe that i forgive him, bc i am still so hurt. We both started to drink more then we ever did and we fight so much about that girl. he keeps saying that he never had slept with her, but i dont trust him and i dont know if i will ever trust him again. I am asking for help and praying to God that i let this mistake that he made go away, i love him and i know he loves me too.. I just dont know what to do.. please help me?

  • Chris Chris says:

    april…sorry to hear of your struggle…its true that we have all made quick decisions at times without realizing that their appearance isnt the best but nothing wrong really takes place. that seems what has happened with your husband. life is a learning process and many times we learn the hard way, by making a mistake. if we married perfection we wouldnt be married because noone is perfect. when we remember our mistakes and how God has had mercy upon us, shouldnt we show mercy upon others too? for more information on showing your husband and others the mercy of God, log onto…knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above for more personal help. i pray jesus mercy be yours today as you become and instrument for sharing it as well!

  • Chris Chris says:

    don dressel…i pray for you don to know that you are not alone in your fight. 1 pet 5.8 to 10 tells us that the same afflictions are being faced by our brethren in the world. jesus is with you a mighty warrior and he will teach your hands to fight spiritually with all the armour of God upon you. ephes 4, ps 144. as the angel told Daniel in Daniel 9 to 10, be strong Daniel! so we speak to you in jesus name, Donald be strong in the lord and in the power of his might! ephes 6.10 amen

  • Don Dressel says:

    Thank you so much for your replies! It means so much to me to hear from the both of you! I pray to God that things will change between us but she is so tired of me and for reasons I DO NOT KNOW?! I have been a faithful and loving man and have always been there for her. I grow weary and tired of her but pray to God she will open up her eyes! I go to church but she will not go with me. I am also helping my mom and sister with taking care of my dad as he is slowly dying of heart disease. I have got so much on my plate I feel like I am going to lose it! Please pray for me as I need it so bad! My wife is not even like the woman I have been with for the last 24 years! She is cold and hard towards me! I do have my little jack russell Winston who is my buddy that is like me a very loving and sweet little guy!

  • April says:

    My husband rode to the store with a female neither one of us know. He told me about it apologized and claim that it was an innocent ride because he was blocked in. If that would have been me he would understand how i feel. I don’t want to move forward and I don’t know how to it hurts because I do feel portrayed.

  • Viera says:

    Don Dressel..If I can encourage you don’t give up hope. Firstly put your trust and heart to Jesus and he will help you. You know, in marriage there are two people and both of them are responsible for their relationship. If some of the partner is not giving other what he needs and what is marriage for, then temptation is very strong and evil will find the way to fulfill those needs outside of marriage in a sinful way. Be sure to talk to your wife, show interest for her for her struggles, pain, worries, joys, dreams and so on. Just listen don’t give her advices. Show her love practical way and pray that Jesus will show you what is missing in her life that she is looking for it in talking with other men. God help you in your marriage.

  • Chris Chris says:

    don dressel…sorry to hear of your situation. we see even from the beginning that unfaithfulness in marriage has been a problem with both men and women. remember how David and bathseeba in the bible both committed consentual adultery. if there is any consolation in your case, it appears your wifes illicit activities are limited to the internet and not physical it seems. its important in these situations to recognize firstly that your wifes unfaithfulness is to christ above all. sin is a breakdown in our relationship to God and shows up in human relationships as well, in your case, your marriage relationship. my advise would be first, be sure your relationship to christ is a solid and healthy one, that way you will be able to walk through any dark time in life by having the light of life, christ at your side. for more information on having christ as your companion in life if you dont already, log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above for personal help. then, once you are strong in the lord, you can help your wife to be strong in the lord too….my prayer for you both in jesus name amen

  • Don Dressel says:

    My wife broke my heart when she got caught up in a romance scam! Now she is in chat rooms with strange men.she does not care what I think and could care less much about me after 24 years together. I am heartbroken and sad that she would be this way towards me. I have done everything for her and maybe that is the problem. The last thing is she is telling these guys she is 42 when in truth she is turning 59. I keep asking God why?

  • Chris Chris says:

    maria r….sorry to hear of your situation. its true that people really cant be trusted. our faith and our lives must depend upon God for his guidance and direction in order to know whom especially we are to marry. only God knows the heart of each person and only he can show us who is best for us. to do that, we need to have a personal relationship with his son jesus. to do that please log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above so that you can begin to live confidently, not in people, but in jesus who will lead you to the right ones. i pray you would receive christ today and begin living life the way God has always intended it should be lived, with him at the helm amen!

Leave a Reply