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….”

Is Your Husband Watching Porn? Read “Hardcore Betrayal.”  Related: Unfaithful Husband: Thrown on a Roller Coaster.

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.

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

  • Carole says:

    Marriage is a covenant between two people and God and it is best when you can trust the other person to keep their promises. God has to come first in your marriage. If you put your faith in God’s hands and try to live by his plan, your marriage will be long and everlasting. Give yourself up to God if you have not and let him lead you on the path you need to be on.

  • Wycliffe says:

    My wife and I love each other because in case of any difference’s we refer to the bible for correction after talking it together three words Love,Trust and Forgiveness understand each other accept one another forgive and let it go above all sum it up with love 1Corinthians 13:1–

  • ochanya says:

    I got married 2015,before i married my husband,i noticed that,he gets angry so easily, and fleece his muscles at me as if he want to fight with me,i complained about this seriously before marriage and he honestly told me that, he will never raise his hand on me but this has happened and I feel so hurt not knowing what to do. I have a baby that is just six months old.Though,he apologized profusely but I still feel so so hurt inside me. Please,help me.

  • Leigh says:

    Thank you Doris! I realize what you say is true. Every article, every website talks about he obviously felt like he couldn’t talk to me. Tells me to figure out what I need to change. This makes me so angry! I don’t want it to, but it does. We were having a rough couple of months. Our marriage has gone through many rough patches, but this time, this time he couldn’t’ talk to me? So I need to get past my pain, my broken heart and fix myself for the sake of my marriage? I have matched our phone bills with times and days he talked or texted. All of the times were me alone with our 3 kids. I don’t know. I am really struggling with this.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Hi Leigh,
    I’m so sorry to hear that you have been struggling in your marriage. But the fact that your husband fully admits that it was wrong is a good start, especially since he is remorseful. The fact that he realizes this is excellent…..so work on your relationship and keep listening…he obviously felt like he needed someone to listen to the struggles he was having so be that safe place for him. Encourage him and together you can build your trust bank up again.

  • Leigh says:

    I just recently found out on NYE that my husband had a “friend”. It was someone he meet at an event and she started e-mailing him at work. At first it was just questions about where he worked, if he liked it there. Then they became more questions about likes and dislikes and about problems they were both having. They moved to texting and a few phone calls. I found a text on his phone and saw there rest of the conversations had been deleted. I knew something was up, I just knew. He swears to me that it was just talking. Just advice to one another. They because they were both married that it was okay to talk to one another and get advice. But it was secret and he was lying and some of the texts were early in the morning. I was devastated! We were going through a tough time financially and he was looking to move jobs. It was stressful. He was becoming distant and he was confiding in her and not me. We’ve had a lot of fights and a lot of talking and a lot of crying. He swears it wasn’t physical and wasn’t even inappropriate talk. He fully admits that it was wrong and he kept secrets and he lied. He seems so remorseful and I think once everything finally got out I really felt like he was telling me the truth. My husband also reveled to me that he has been depressed for a while now. I’ve seen this slow progression and tried to help him, but I am so hurt by this relationship he had with another woman. We’re working on our marriage, but its hard. I now feel like the one walking on eggshells.

  • Molly says:

    Hey Elizabeth, I hear your pain but honestly, if he didn’t do anything with those girls you just have to trust him. Don’t torment yourself like that. He wanted you, he married you and is no longer working there which is another bonus. Really, how you are feeling comes from a place of insecurity. You need to change the way you think of yourself and let not your self worth come from others because unfortunately people will let you down but you make mistakes too. So learn and grow from the past mistakes/failures/pain. Let them make you and your relationship with your spouse stronger.

  • Sharon says:

    to Carole my sympathy to you on the death of your husband what a testimony the company moving you two states away and your husband came to Christ before he died even the drinking stopped you are right let go and let God deal with it and trust God for the outcome good for you for doing that. may God continue to comfort you– sharon

  • Carole says:

    I had sort of a similar situation. My late husband had a friend who ran a nudie bar. He stopped there on the way home every night. I found it very frustrating so one night he took me there to meet his friend. I managed to ignore everything until this totally nude girl ran up and gave him a big hug. The worst part was he hugged back. I was devastated. I finally had to let go and let God and trust in my husband when he said nothing happened. Finally the company moved us like two states away and that was the end of that. He finally found Christ about 5 years or so before he died and even the drinking stopped. I think you need to give it up to God and trust in your husband. After all, he married you.

  • Shellbelle says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your pain. It sounds like it’s more of you having an issue of not getting past it and need to be forgiven by your husband. That might help you start the process of getting over your feelings. Also ask God to forgive you for still living in fear.
    My first husband didn’t have religion in his life until I came along but he still didn’t join the church even after us being together almost 17 years. He had done some hurtful things to me in the past plus is an alcoholic. The last straw is when things were confirmed with him coming home with an STD. He denied how he got it. He told me to go see the priest and talk to him about how I was feeling. Haha kinda funny when he didn’t have religion and i wasn’t the one that came home with cooties.
    We ended up getting divorced. I have regrets for our son but he’s a momma boy and will be 20 next month. I wasn’t looking for a mate but my current.husband and I feel god brought us together. Our faith has grown in a huge way. My husband is a deacon at church and I’m on the board. I never thought that would ever be me. I had to forgive myself and ask God for forgiveness before I could get over it

  • Elizabeth says:


    My husband and me are still dealing with hurt from his past ( before he met Christ) and while we dated and were in a distance relationship. We are now married and living in the same place now but dated for 2 years apart. During that time my husband started working at a gym. He had always wanted to be a personal trainer and he worked hard to get the job he did. I was not comfortable with the different people in the gym, mainly because the gym was run by a all women staff of whom were all very young and fit with nice bodies. I was uneasy with my boyfriend / fiancé at the time working in that kind of place . It caused a lot of fighting in our relationship. He also had mainly female clients that he trained and worked with closely some of who were young and fit. We had made a rule that he would not train anyone that he would have issues with training but it still hurt me when he trained young women with nice bodies. He was working in this seeting for 10mon. We are now married and he is no longer working there but getting pass all that hurt from him being there daily for 8-9 hours a day has been hard for me to get over. He had many women flirt with him and some that even tried to break us up and asked to date him. My husband has said over and over that he is sorry that the situation was so hard but that he did nothing against me. That he carried himself well in there and that nothing happen. I need help in moving past the hurt of it all. I hated thinking about him with so many women daily while I was distance and 5 hours away from him. It was a long year for us and now that we are finally together I cant get past the hurt and enjoy us.

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