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Exercises for Forgiveness in Marriage

by S. Grey, studioD

Many exercises help you or your spouse forgive each other whether you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Using activities to forgive make the process active. Simply understanding how you forgive or asking for forgiveness in a letter facilitate the process and put you on the road to healing your marriage. This process takes time and energy, so making it concrete through exercises will help you and your spouse develop important skills for your future.

Understanding How You Forgive

Understanding how you see and implement forgiveness provides a route for forgiving your spouse. This exercise helps you sort out how you forgive others, providing you with the first steps toward forgiving your spouse. Start by defining what forgiveness is to you and how you have experienced it in the past. Then, assess how easily you forgive and issues you may have with the process. Understanding creates a foundation for approaching forgiveness, so knowing how you go about the process better enables you to undertake it.

Forgiveness Letters

Whether you or your spouse need forgiveness, writing forgiveness letters helps you to move forward. In this exercise, the offending partner writes a letter in which he explicitly states what he's done and how it likely made his partner feel, ending with a plea for forgiveness. For instance, a partner who cheated on his spouse may right: I was wrong when I cheated on you, I know this must have caused you to feel abandoned, hurt and disrespected; will you forgive me? The offended partner has a chance to respond to this letter, but also give input as to other areas where she feels the offending partner should apologize. Forgiveness letters give both partners a chance to facilitate positive communication and helps the offended partner forgive.

Three Questions

There are three important questions you can ask as an exercise for forgiving your spouse: Are you willing to forgive your spouse totally, absolutely and unconditionally? Start this exercise by taking a sheet of paper and writing your spouse's name at the top. Then write her characteristics and flaws, as well as any grievances you have toward her. Ask yourself the three questions to see how willing you are to forgive your spouse. If you answer yes to any, then you are on the path to forgiveness.

Symbolically Let Go

Letting go of a symbol of your pain or hurt caused by your spouse is a powerful exercise in forgiving him. There are many ways to approach this exercise, but each involves writing your grievances on a material you will later destroy or release. Write down your pain on the material, letting loose your emotions. Then, physically let go or release the material to symbolize letting go of your pain and moving forward. For example, write your pain on a helium balloon and release it into the air, never to be seen again. You could also write down any grievances on a piece of paper then burn it or rip it up accomplishing the same goal as with a balloon.

About the Author

S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.

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