Dear Suzie, I want to forgive my wife, but I’m worried that if I forgive her too soon, she’ll just think that I’m weak and she can do this to me again. So how long should I wait to forgive her if I don’t want to look like a doormat?
I get this question so much, I wrote an entire article about it. So, for more in-depth advice, I suggest after reading this, you also read my article called How to Deal with an Unfaithful Spouse. In the meantime, let’s clear up some of the confusion you seem to be having about forgiveness.
Confusion Vs. Reality About Forgiveness
Confusion: Your forgiveness is something she needs to earn.
Reality: True forgiveness can never be earned. If it could be earned, that would mean it has a price. Since it is priceless (like love), it must be given freely and without conditions. Here’s another thing: When you forgive, you aren’t doing the person you forgive any favors. This is because forgiveness frees YOU first. In other words, you can’t forgive anyone without experiencing the rewards first.
Confusion: By withholding forgiveness, you’re punishing her.
Reality: The longer you withhold forgiveness, the longer you punish yourself. Why? Because no thought leaves the mind of the thinker. Therefore, withholding forgiveness is like holding your breath and hoping the other person will suffocate. So, rather than ask how long before you forgive, a better question to ask yourself is, how long do you want to suffer?
Confusion: Forgiving is the same as condoning what she did.
Reality: Condoning and forgiving aren’t the same. For example: When Nelson Mandela walked out of jail after 24 years of imprisonment, he was able to forgive white South Africa, but he in no way either condoned or approved of what they had done. He was able to confront the injustices head on. He made radical changes, amendments, and adjustments. He simply did all this without hate.
Confusion: Forgiveness is a sign of passiveness.
Reality: Forgiveness is a sign of maturity and strength. The weak and passive cannot forgive. The most they do is suppress. Don’t confuse being peaceful with being passive. For example: You would probably agree that there was nothing about Mahatma Gandhi that was weak. And yet, he was able to defeat the entire British army without firing a single shot. The choice for peace is not the choice for passivity. You can be peaceful and still be assertive and confident.
Forgiveness Is A Gift We Choose To Give.
Here is the real miracle of forgiveness: It gives you the ability to seek justice without hating those who caused the injustice.
So, to answer your question…
How long should you make her wait before you forgive?
The answer is… not a minute longer.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!