It sure would be nice if we could all get married, and stay married for love, but sadly that is not the case. According to Canadian stats, 38% of marriages fail. At least it’s not half, right? That would be terribly sad. So, for those of us who belong to that 38%, I am writing to you with this article. It is time to forgive your ex. If you already have, great! For those of you who are still battling and slugging it out, it’s time to forgive. I feel the need to point out that forgiving your ex doesn’t mean you won’t have any problems, or everything will suddenly become hunky dory, that is not the case. But what forgiveness does is heal YOUR heart, and allows you to move on without having an emotional reaction every time you encounter, or have to deal with your ex. Even though you may be divorced, you will always be connected if you have children. And guess what – it’s in your best interests to forgive your ex, so that your kids don’t get pulled between either of you. Your child(ren) should be able to love each parent, no matter who did what. Don’t become a stumbling block for your kids, because you choose to stay angry and be revengeful at your ex. You will only damage them, and their future relationships. Kids should not feel that they have to pick sides, and sadly these days, a lot of parents do that. It’s time to stop, it’s time to grow, and it’s time to forgive.
ONCE UPON A TIME
That’s how your relationship started. Once upon a time, two people met, and fell in love. In fact, they loved each other so much, that they even pledged to love and cherish one another, till death do us part. Remember those vows? Did you take them lightly at the time? No you did not. But what happens when your marriage irretrievably breaks down, and you can’t stand that person anymore? We all know the answer – you get divorced. When you are going through the process of divorce, it’s usually messy and ugly. Lots of nasty words thrown at each other. An end of a relationship is traumatic, and if there ends up to be fighting over custody, things really get awful. So many words get said, that cut deeply. At this point, it seems there is no return on ever having a relationship with that person again.
It would be nice to be able to wish that all divorces could be easy, but that’s just not going to happen. Why are we getting divorced? Because we are angry and hurt. Angry and hurt people do not divorce easily. When we are hurt, we lash out. We might even say things we regret. We fight and duke it out. And the kids are left with our broken pieces. It’s so sad. Most relationships fail because of unmet expectations, and because the hurt has gone too deep. Couples don’t know how to resolve issues, and they can’t talk to one another. Not all relationships end because of abuse. The bottom line is, if we don’t learn how to say what we want, say what we need, and learn to talk and listen to our partner, no matter what relationship we’re in won’t work. We need to be able to forgive each other. No-one is perfect, no-one will be able to supply 100% of the love that each of us needs. Only God can fill us with an everlasting love.
TWO HALF EMPTY LOVE TANKS DO NOT FILL A TANK
What I mean by that, is if two people who are hurting, and each of them have relationship issues, when they get married, it’s not enough love to fill both of their tanks. If you give each other your love, you both end up with only half a tank, because you’ve just exchanged it with one another. The only way one tank can be full, is if another person’s tank is empty. This is not good. Both people in a marriage need to have their own full tank. Both people in a marriage need to be able to love themselves, or they will not be able to love someone else. The most problems in marriage is that hurting people get married, and neither one of them is able to give the love that they need to the other. There isn’t enough love to fall back on during tough times. There isn’t enough love to weather the storms of parenting. There isn’t enough love to weather unexpected losses. Once tanks are empty, there is nothing left to draw on, and the marriage fails.
SOME EX’s ARE ABUSIVE
There are some really nasty ex’s out there. And I’m including both sexes. It’s not just men who are nasty. Females can be pretty awful too. Some of us have experienced some pretty nasty stuff. Physical violence, emotional abuse, manipulative passive-aggressive behavior, unmet expectations. For some of us it is sexual abuse. First and foremost, the person who has inflicted pain on you has come from a place of hurt. No rational human being grows up and decides to hurt someone. Somewhere along the line, that person has experienced trauma, and it has shaped the way they have learned to act and behave. I’m not offering an excuse for those who behave badly, I’m telling you there is a reason for it. For every single nasty person out there, there is a reason for their behavior. It’s not up to you to figure it out, nor me, but what I want you to do is try to be empathetic. No matter what hurt was done. Flip it the other way. What did that person experience in their life, so bad, that they were unable to learn how to love, and show love. That’s so sad. Parents have such an important role in a child’s life. Not only parents, but teachers too. It can only take one person, an adult, friend, teacher, or family member to destroy someone else. One person. Everyone has one basic need: to be loved. We all want to be loved and accepted. We want to be liked. But some people and their spirits are crushed when they are a child, and they end up being a horrible adult. It’s so sad.
LEARN HOW TO HAVE EMPATHY
One of the ingredients of forgiveness is being able to have some empathy. Even though you probably don’t want to, think of your abuser as a sad, bullied, child. If you saw a beat up child with blood on their face, you’d instantly want to protect them, hug them, and shield them from pain. Well, many kids grow up and become abusive boyfriends, and fathers. They are still that hurting child deep inside. Remember that. They did not decide to grow up and be an asshole. Trust me, they didn’t. A series of events happened in their lives that destroyed them, their self-esteem, their value, and their ability to love. This doesn’t absolve them of their behavior though, so don’t get all mad at me here. Having empathy shows at least you understand the whys of the behavior. It doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t absolve them. These people need help, and what they need most is forgiveness. They need to delve into their past, dig those roots of pain out, and get rid of them. We cannot function properly if we have roots of pain and hurt growing in our bodies. It’s impossible to love others, if we can’t love ourselves. And we can’t love ourselves, if we are full of shame. Forgiveness is the only thing that will heal us.
FORGIVE YOUR EX FOR YOUR SAKE
No matter what your ex has done (or hasn’t done), you need to forgive them, no matter what. Don’t come at me and say “but you don’t know what abuse I suffered.” Yes I do. Okay, not you personally, but I am aware of all types of abuse out there. There isn’t anything that is unforgiveable. Nothing. Do you understand? Are you willing to accept that? There is NOTHING that can happen to you that is unforgiveable. Forgiveness is an acceptance on your part that the behavior was wrong, and you are choosing to acknowledge it, release it, and drop it off. It doesn’t absolve them of their behavior, but you are not responsible for what they say or do. They may or may not ask forgiveness for hurting or abusing you, but it doesn’t matter. Forgiveness is your choice to free yourself from them, and move on with your life. You cannot move on if you choose to stay bitter and angry. All you do is build a pit, and dig yourself deeper, all while pouring poison on top of you. Stop.
IF YOU FEEL TRIGGERED
If you are being triggered and feeling angry reading this right now, saying in your heart, “I will NEVER forgive ______________ for hurting me,” then I suggest you watch the video about Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at age fourteen, but was rescued nine months later. Let it speak to you. Let Elizabeth’s words get through to you. What she experienced in her life was so awful, but yet she chose to forgive. Let your hate out of your body – release it, and live your life to the fullest. Remember, deciding to forgive is a choice. Don’t use your emotions to decide. Use your will. It will win every time. Decide on a date, and when that date comes, say the words out loud, “I choose to forgive my ex”. I would strongly encourage you to do it today. But some of you may need a few days to wrap your head around this, and I understand that.
DON’T MAKE YOUR EX YOUR ENEMY
Even if your ex keeps behaving badly, remember, there is a reason, but you don’t need to figure it out. You may already know of stuff in their childhood that may have affected them, but most of you are not clinical psychologists, so won’t know why they behave as they do. Don’t bother directing your hate and anger at them. Focus on loving yourself, and if you have children, on them. Focus on being kind to your ex, no matter how they behave. Choose to show respect to the partner you actually loved at one point, and married. Don’t let all the good memories you have together go to waste. For the sake of your children, be kind when you refer to your ex. Be respectful always. It doesn’t matter if they behave badly, you don’t have to react tit for tat. How you behave is a reflection of you, and what is in your heart. Don’t let someone else’s bad behavior turn you into a raging, revenge filled mess.
FORGIVE YOUR EX TODAY
Choose to forgive your ex, and train your brain to remember only the good memories. Some of us struggle with a difficult ex, and it seems no matter what there is always some issue that comes up. Refuse to engage with nastiness. Instead, be kind, and show that you can be a responsible adult, by using your head and your will, not your emotions that can run high. Let the past stay in the past, and stop re-living it. The best thing you will ever do in life is forgive your ex. Forgive them, even if they never apologize. You forgive, so that you can move on in life, and enjoy it. You forgive, to cut those ties between the two of you. You forgive, so that you can move on to another meaningful relationship, without all the baggage of your ex clinging on to you.
HAVE YOU FORGIVEN YOUR EX YET?
Pick a day right now, and put it on the calendar. Make it happen. Choose with your will to do it – don’t rely on your feelings because you’ll never get past those. Once you forgive, let it all go.
NO TRASH TALKING YOUR EX
No more trash talking your ex to your friends. No more trash talking your ex to your kids, or family members. No more trash talking about your ex, at all! Leave them behind. They don’t need to be a part of your daily life or conversation any more. Train your brain to only think about your positive memories together, even if it was only your beautiful wedding day. Train your brain, you are capable, all you have to do is be willing.
It’s your choice to live free, or to live trapped.