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A Call To Forgive
Part 2: Take a step back, look at your relationship and put forgiveness first.

By John Dalog
Your relationship can have a fresh start with a little forgiveness.

Love is an act of endless forgiveness.—Peter Ustinov

If love is a verb, then forgiveness is its partner in crime. It is the highest form of love and the single behavior that most distinguishes our human potential. In an ancient tale from the Kaballah, God told some angels in training that the capacity to forgive is the most excellent gift in the human experience, more essential to the continuity of life than the courage to sacrifice your own life for someone else or enduring the pain of giving life.

God explained to the angel, "Forgiveness is the only reason my creation continues. Without forgiveness, all would disappear in an instantaneous flash."

Certainly some might suspect this true with a quick glance to the Middle East. What would it look like if the rule of power and force were replaced with a mandate for the strength and courage of forgiveness? The comment by Desmond Tutu that, "Forgiveness and reconciliation are not just ethereal, spiritual, other-worldly activities. They have to do with the real world. They are realpolitik, because in a very real sense, without forgiveness, there is no future" speaks volumes about the state of things.

And yet we don’t have to look that far, for most of us right in our own homes we struggle with hurts, real and imagined, that separate us from the ones we say we love. The smallest of details in sharing a life with someone can easily and often, without notice, turn into a storyline about the person you love.

For years, my disregard of my husband’s need for order and cleanliness and, in turn, his disgust at my laissez faire approach to house cleaning came to mean everything. We weren’t talking about behaviors where we dramatically differed, instead each housekeeping incident was a personal insult that, with just a small push, inflamed to fury about the other weak points in our relationship.

Before Christ was born Marcus Aurelius said, "Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us." The petty arguments of life are the cracks in the foundation of the relationships we are building and, left unresolved, often fall into the established patterns of retreat and attack, which impact both partner’s ability to be emotional available and vulnerable. It is not that big a stretch to see how these behaviors adapt into the extremely common, no-win situation of the sexual initiation complex. The questions of who asks and who says no are salt in the wounds and all the small disagreements come to mean everything about being both loveable and loving.

I have only experienced the deep life changing balm of forgiveness in my life one time. Right at the moment when my marriage hung on the precipice of its end, we decided instead to forgive. I can’t say who initiated it or even exactly how it happened, all I can say of that moment is that I couldn’t remember any longer what it was to not be wanted, that all the years of fighting over who we weren’t for each other evaporated and what was left was a space to love someone for who they were. My intimate life, very much at the core of my marriage reinvigorated itself with a curiosity and genuine interest that had always cowered behind our relentless arguments. I was blessed and have since that time tried to understand just how that could have happened and how I can do it again.

I think that forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It embraces the child’s heart, which is always ready to risk for a better moment and give up the hurt of the last one. Forgiveness is an innocent place where your hurt and pain does not have the final word. Yet there is little wisdom or strength that has more power to transform the world than the courage to bear witness to your pain and let go of it.

Part 1: On the Edge of Forgiveness

Wendy Strgar is the founder of GoodCleanLove.com, which provides products and advice for sustainable love. If you have questions about products or toys send them in and Wendy will be happy to share her knowledge. When visiting the website, use coupon code NEWSITE08, to enjoy a new year 15 percent discount.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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