The Real Secret to Marriage: Forgiveness

When I was first married I remember people saying “communication is the key to a happy marriage.” Or even, “the three keys to a strong marriage are communication, communication and communication.” At the time, I agreed.

I do not want to discount the importance of effective communication with your spouse. Organizations like PowerofTwoMarriage offer great skill building in this area, and I continue to try to improve my own communication skills. However, I don’t think it’s the most important skill or trait in marriage. After 16 years of being married, I think forgiveness is more important. I say that being blessed to never have had anything huge to forgive. But whether big or small things get under your skin, a lack of forgiveness in marriage has the power to destroy it and lead you closer to divorce.

I wrote of a wonderful couple’s ability to forgive the big stuff in this post for Simple Marriage recently. It’s called: Forgiveness is a gift for the giver and the receiver. Check it out, and then let me know if you agree that forgiveness is one of the keys to your happy relationship. I write about a very difficult thing to forgive, infidelity.  The article also includes tips from Dr. Scott Haltzman on how to effectively seek forgiveness. It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it.

When we learn to seek and give forgiveness, we can have peace and love in our homes. We can be happy to come home and happy to spend time with our spouse. What do you think is the toughest fault to forgive?

My new book, First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage is now available–just in time for Christmas. Go here for links to Amazon print version or e-books for Kindle, iTunes, Nook or e-book. If you’ve already bought the book, don’t forget to email me for your 7 free marriage improvement gifts, including everything from an e-book to improve your sex-life to date night suggestions, an iPhone app with daily marriage tips, a marriage refresher workbook, a video to hone your communication skills, and tips for how to connect on a daily basis with your spouse in just 15 minutes a day.

Photo courtesy of by Savit Keaw Tavee.

10 responses to “The Real Secret to Marriage: Forgiveness

  1. I just finished reading/listening to “First Kiss to Lasting Bliss” yesterday and one of the themes that runs through the entire book is the importance of communication and forgiveness. Truly, without forgiveness (whether of a big thing like infidelity or small like forgetting to pick up something at the store), marriage will be much harder than it needs to be – if not nearly impossible.

    The toughest fault to forgive? One that repeatedly occurs, without an attempt to improve.

  2. I agree completely. From the small infractions to the big hurts, we can’t have a growing marriage with resentment and bitterness festering. Forgiveness is so important.

    • Thanks, J, for the comment. Yes, unfortunately that resentment and bitterness is easy to brew, so we have to make a consious decision to forgive.

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  6. Yes, it is more difficult to forgive when the person continues the behavior. But continuing behavior does not mean the person does not want to change. Sometimes that is the case. But often there is a genuine desire to change but addictions are…well addicting.
    Forgiving Sweetheart’s infidelity was the easy part. He was clearly unstable and I new that as he came through that period he would regain stability and be a changed man. Trust was harder because he was not being trustworthy and yet to get it going I still had to extend bits of trust.
    I think my forgiveness block is for situations where affair partners marry each other. To me those marriages are invalid. I wish preachers still asked the guests if anyone had reason that the marriage should not take place and then I wish people would stand up as a group against the invalid marriage. I wish more preachers would find out about a couple’s history and refuse to marry them if they were affair partners.
    So that is where I need to do my work. I guess that some of the things that are most difficult to forgive are those for which the other person does not believe they are acting acting inappropriately because then they feel no need to change the behavior.

  7. Thank you for your insights. Yes, that sounds like an area of pain that would be very difficult to forgive. You also make a good point that sometimes people want to change but find it very hard.

  8. Pingback: Skills of Communication in Marriage, Keep, Love, How to, Marriage, Relations

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