Forgive. Merriam-Webster defines “forgive” as:
1) to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
2) to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
3) to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)
Sounds easy enough.
But, how does one just stop feeling anger, as Merriam-Webster defines, toward a spouse who has broken everything…and I do mean everything, you knew to be true? Broken promises. Broken trust. Broken a past…a future…a heart.
I couldn’t just stop being angry. I was angry. I was angry at him, angry at both of the women (and as I’ve since discovered, angry at just about every woman he speaks to for more than 30 seconds), angry at the situation, and angry at myself.
I was angry at him (and the women) for obvious reasons.
I was angry at myself because I knew something wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t convince myself that he would do that to me. To us. To our family. I was mad at myself for believing his lies.
But the biggest hurdle I’ve had, is feeling like he got the fun; I got the work.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to cheat. But I have felt like he got the fun of flirting, of having those butterflies, and arranging “dates”. He got to experience the firsts again…the first touch, the first kiss, the first time.
I haven’t had a first in 20 years! I miss the butterflies. I miss the firsts! I miss the excitement of those firsts.
But, I’m hurt that I will be never his last again. I’m no longer his last, first kiss. I’m no longer the only woman he’s ever been with. I’m no longer his only, first time. I will never be those things to him again. I can never get that back.
And to top it off, I get the work. I got the work of raising two kids alone. I got the work of trying to muddle through the day wondering what was going on. And once I found out, I got the work of dealing with waves of emotions and trying to forgive him.
How does this happen?? He gets the fun and the one who was honorable gets the hard part?!? Are you serious right now??
My dad always told me life isn’t fair, but give me a break!! This is beyond what I ever expected!
My counselor explained to me that forgiveness is not a feeling, nor is it a one-time event. Forgiveness is more about not demanding payment and not seeking revenge. And the act of forgiveness is a process.
He referenced the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in the Bible, as found in Matthew 18:21-35.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
He explained that many times a person will not wrong us 77 different ways, but rather sometimes we need to forgive the same offense (such as adultery) multiple times, because the hurt comes back (often through a trigger). So some days a person must forgive the same offense 10 times.
And although that made sense to me and did help me to begin the process of forgiveness I still struggled for several months…and I still do some days.
I wondered if I was giving him a free pass.
I wondered what my children will think once they get older & find out.
And I finally decided, free pass or not, I must do this. For myself. Not for him…but for me. Because I deserve to heal.