The holiday season isn’t very fun at my house because my spouse and I aren’t getting along. It’s hard to enjoy the season when this most important relationship is not right. Do you have any advice for healing the problems between us?
I do have a suggestion — forgive.
You can change this situation right now by taking responsibility for the problem and saying sorry. Though the fault rests on both your shoulders equally, someone must let go of their need to be right and forgive first — and it’s probably going to have to be you.
This is not easy, though, and your ego will not want to do it.
Here are some suggestions that might make forgiveness easier. Forgiveness is easier when you: see yourself and your spouse accurately, see your spouse as the same as you, and choose love over everything else.
1. The first step is to make sure you can see yourself and your spouse accurately. You may not be seeing the situation accurately because your perspective is skewed by your fear you aren’t good enough or loved. This fear encourages you to take things personally and see offenses in everything. As long as you’re afraid you aren’t good enough, you will continue to have problems. Your must recognize the fear you are both experiencing.
Here are four principles of truth about human behavior that might bring some clarity:
2. The second step is to make sure you are seeing your spouse as the same as you. You have a tendency to see your spouse as the bad guy and see yourself as the good guy or the victim. You may have created a story to support this idea and you may be committed to being right about it, even if it’s not true. As long as your ego is stuck here you will never resolve this. You must see your spouse as the same as you.
Here are some principles of truth about your value:
3. Choose love over everything else. In every moment, in every situation, you have only two choices as far as your mindset and your response.
You can choose fear and pride — focusing on your own needs, protecting and promoting you. If you choose this, you will trigger fear and pride in your spouse and force them to focus on their needs and protecting themselves, too.
Or you can set your needs aside and choose love. To do this, ask yourself these questions:
There are some situations — like with abuse — when you must protect yourself. Though I am not addressing those in this article. This article is for people who have garden-variety hurts and offenses, which are forgivable and fixable with some clarity and love.
Forgiveness means you allow your spouse to be imperfect and learning, because you’re imperfect and learning, too. This does not mean you should allow abusive behavior to go on. You should speak up and ask to be treated with love and respect, but you must do this from a place of love and accuracy, seeing them as the same as you, not from a place of fear, ego and blame.
If you are still having trouble with forgiveness, I strongly recommend you get some professional help. Learning some relationship skills can make a huge difference. I also recommend getting help at the first sign of resentment in your marriage, not waiting for the problems to get bigger.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.