Misconceptions and bad practices surrounding forgiveness are the biggest mistakes most couples make.
- Forgiveness at this level of betrayal needs to be asked for. To voluntarily offer it without the infidel acknowledging their behavior is inappropriate and counter-productive to the healing process.
- Forgiveness should not be asked for or granted as a “blanket” experience. There are multiple levels of betrayal that need to be identified and forgiven. Besides, it allows the spouse to process small pieces of the betrayal without having to handle the entire experience all at once.
- The forgiveness request should not only identify each specific behavior of the infidel, but should also contain a “best guess” identification of how this behavior hurt the spouse. (See Workbook, Chapter 4)
- Forgiveness is not the same as a commitment to reconcile the marriage. Forgiveness needs to be initiated, whether or not the marriage is saved.
- The forgiveness process stimulates the rebuilding of respect, trust and love. It works like this: To the degree an individual can forgive some of the violations that occurred in this betrayal, to that degree they can begin to rebuild respect. To the degree they can rebuild respect, they can rebuild trust. To the degree that they can rebuild trust, they can start to rebuild love (if both spouses desire to do so).
- The ability to forgive is a learned skill and highly influenced by an individual’s history with both being forgiven and forgiving others. If an individual struggles in this area, it often has more to do with their history than with the current infidelity.