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Transforming Your Relationships Through Forgiveness & Self Growth

We all fail each other sometimes.

The key to life is to always come forth from a feeling of peace within rather than reacting rashly and regretting your actions later. When someone or something makes you angry, step aside and review what is going on in the situation and your well-being. We can often cloud our anger by repressing it and becoming upset over smaller, less important things.

If you read many books on marriage and relationships, you will begin to notice that many of them focus on how to save them. Some great books focus on how to craft the perfect apology or to go with God and let the spirit craft the perfect apology for you.

In relationships, many things can happen that cause disruption. You may even have feelings of frustration trying to figure out what is going on with the other person. These feelings can come up when we keep trying to save them when we really should be focused on how to save ourselves. In the end, you need both parties to save themselves before you can save a relationship. 

Transforming Through Forgiveness & Reframing 

We can start by learning how to forgive ourselves. Whether we realize it or not, we are often the first to fail in our relationship. By failure, we are talking about not listening to the cues in behavior and actions before an affair or much more disappointing events. If we are not mindful in our relationship, then we create situations that could have been prevented.

The second half of that is learning accountability. Each of us is responsible for our actions regardless of our intent. There will always be some kind of pain in a healthy relationship, as life is challenging. Learning to forgive someone and release the hold of transgressions is one of our lifetimes greatest lessons.

Reframing our pain into life lessons is the way we transform our lives and a great way to transform your marriage after an affair. If we can view an event or a behavioral response as a gateway into self-growth, then we can step forward in our relationships rather than step away even more.

Change and Self-Growth 

Change and self-growth always come from within. It is possible to experience change and growth together with your partner.

People that allow change to enter into their lives are generally happier. Being flexible allows for openness and opportunities to occur. Our willingness to change ourselves and our perspectives make us more loving and more likely to overcome feelings of anger and let go of conflict hurt and pain.

Self-growth is how we evolve and become better beings. When we lean into our better selves, we raise our vibration and, in turn, increase the vibration of those around us. When both you and your partner continue to grow as individuals, you will grow together and build a stronger relationship overall.

How Family Dynamics Affect Our Ability to Forgive 

We first learn about forgiveness and love through our family as children.

If our parents are unforgiving to each other and us when we make mistakes, this will set the tone for how we will behave in the future. Creating healthy relationships will become more of a challenge as we will need to unlearn taught behavior.

Forgiveness is not easy and sometimes not warranted. There are some acts that are unforgivable, but you can choose to transmute that energy into something else in order to move forward. Holding on to anger, frustration and rage only cause more pain for you, and that pain will evolve into behavior that will disintegrate your relationships with others, especially your partner.

But, sometimes, we will withhold forgiveness as a need to control the relationship, which is extremely toxic behavior. Narcissists are perhaps the most unforgiving people, so make sure your heart and mind are in the right place. You don't always have to absolve others, but make sure you are still coming from a place of love rather than revenge.

Understanding How Marriage is a Partnership 

Two of the country's best known authors, Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham, wrote the award winning book "From Anger to Intimacy: How Forgiveness Can Transform Your Marriage." In this book, these known authors and speakers discuss how couples deal with anger, infidelity, and sexual addiction. 4.0 out of 5 people have called it a life changing book.

Ted Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church, where he lives in Branson, Missouri. Gary Smalley was a Christian counselor and the founder of The Smalley Relationship Center. Both of them joined together as authors and speakers on family relationships and have helped many over the years.

They have many popular films and videos that many still use today to help them with their marriage and family issues. Dr Gary Smalley focused his work on the importance of how forgiveness can transform a relationship into something more substantial.

His goal, along with founding pastor Ted Cunningham, was to have couples learn to forgive and nurture. He felt it was vital that people want to learn how to move from anger to intimacy in order to heal their relationship. Nurture is how we love each other unconditionally, which is the cornerstone of a healthy marriage.

Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham's work still continues to help enlighten couples today and bring about healing. Their work aims to resolve conflict hurt and help sexual addiction and heal by showing how to nurture a forgiving spirit. They have provided advice on how to give an apology break sexual addiction and move on after an affair.

A few points to remember from their work

  • Exhaustion leads to anger
  • Anger leads to disruptive behavior
  • Disruptive behavior leads to counseling

We can't save our partners from making mistakes. But, we can save ourselves from causing more pain in the relationship by communicating and working with them through therapy to learn how to resolve conflict with each other and from within ourselves.

We Are All Human 

When it comes to reaching a place of forgiveness and reconciliation, we must understand that we are all spirits living a human experience.

All of us make mistakes. There are times when we are not our best self, and we make poor choices. We often suffer the consequences of these choices along with others. We may not intend to hurt people, but we do. It is a part of being human, and it is the book that we all write for ourselves.

Forgiveness isn't just about forgiving someone, but it is also about having the courage to release our negative beliefs attached to actions and accept people for who they are. We all show up differently at different times in our lives, and sometimes we may not be ready for a real relationship even though we're already in one.

Learning to understand our limitations and our season of life will help us to hold our energy in a higher vibration and greet each other with a sense of compassion and emotional intelligence. Taking the time to review our past wounds helps re-evaluate our perspective and how we want to move forward. Reframing hurtful events that happen is another way to help forgive and do just that. This is how we take control and shape the book of our lives.

Ways to Reframe 

  • Allow reviews of the situation
  • Acknowledge each other's moods
  • Identify thoughts both of you are having
  • Clarify ways to change moving forward
  • Discuss alternative ways to frame what happened
  • Decide the theme of your relationship book
  • Find humor and benefits within the takeaway lesson

Transforming Together 

When trying to repair a marriage or relationship where transgressions have occurred, both sides have to be willing. If one side is unwilling to work on self-improvement, then the work will fall apart. The transformation of a marriage can only work if both parties are on the same page of the book on how the story will eventually play out.

Do the work together by sharing books and by choosing to read them together. This level of intellectual engagement will also encourage the feelings of intimacy how forgiveness nurtures and heals the both of you. It's not easy to save a relationship, but it can be done. Get both your minds and hearts together on the same page of the book. Do the work together, slowly and patiently. Allow room for growth on both sides, and a great relationship will emerge even stronger this time around. 

Love Yourself First 

The key to this work is loving yourself first before loving each other. To love yourself is to save yourself from inner and outer turmoil.

If you don't save yourself first, you can't save your relationship. There is no book or books that can show you how to fully integrate self-love into your love life while in a relationship. Most of the time, this work is done prior. While in a relationship, learning to love yourself is problematic because it requires patience and acceptance from your partner.

Sometimes we get to save our relationship by spending time apart for a while. Talk to each other and see if allowing each additional time to be alone to save themselves might save the relationship in the long term.

If you do decide to spend time apart to repair your relationship, then make some ground rules of how that interim relationship will look like and make clear plans about counseling and timelines, so there is no more hurt or confusion. A timeout can help reassess and help each other grow in ways you may not be able to while together thoroughly.

Apologize or Let Go 

The hardest part is apologizing. The second most challenging part is accepting the apology and moving on from it.

Accepting an apology doesn't mean that you forget what happened. It means you've integrated the pain into your relationship and transformed it into something else. It can be forgiveness, or it can be acceptance of the other through unconditional love.

Sometimes letting go is the only way to move on with each other's lives. The process of letting go is one of grieving but doesn't necessarily mean the relationship is over. It means it has changed, and the foundation of what it once was has now rehabilitated itself into something new.

How that unfolds is up to you and your relationship. You write the book or books on your marriage. You get to control the narrative, and that is how you reframe the experience.

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