Are You “Destroying” Your Marriage by Extending Forgiveness?
Is your marriage weak because you're too fast to forgive?
When my husband told his grandfather he was going to marry me and asked for marriage advice, his grandfather told him to answer everything with, "yes, dear." Yeah, that has never happened. Not once but that doesn't mean he's too stubborn to admit when he's wrong or to compromise.
I don't believe this even as I type it. I believe that forgiveness is the key to healing, understanding, and holding together a marriage, but a study by James K. McNulty from the University of Tennessee and published in the Journal of Family Psychology, says the total opposite.
In the study, professor McNulty suggests that when you forgive your partner it makes your marriage worse because you’re sending them a message that bad behavior is acceptable, and instead of forgiving, couples should reject the request for forgiveness.
Did you hear screeching sounds like I did when you read that? Did your brain also yell out, "Wait! Hold on a minute!"?
I guess the theory is that when you forgive your partner for anything from forgetting to take out the trash to cheating (yes, we're talking about offenses that broad) you're giving them permission to do those things again and they often do, or so says McNulty.
I can't get on board with this. I just can't. I feel like forgiveness is one of the most important things in life and I'm certainly not going to hold a grudge and beat my husband over the head for forgetting to take out the trash when he said he would. How is that even a healthy way to go through a marriage? If my husband were to cheat which he won't ever because he knows what I'd do, I'm sure that forgiving him would no come easily or quickly.
I would think that being married to someone who is resentful and holds a grudge rather than extending forgiveness, especially over the little things, would only make the other feel like they were constantly walking on eggshells and no person should feel that on edge in their relationship, ever.