This is an oldy but a goody. This is an episode that we posted in season 1 about forgiveness. We talk about the power of forgiveness. IN the last year, we are seeing a real problem come up in marriages.
Unforgiveness. Couples are keeping score about the misdeeds, mistakes, and miscommunications the other has made, Instead of dealing with it. They are holding onto it and letting unforgiveness be the driver in the marriage.
Take a listen as we discuss what happens when exercise forgiveness in our relationships.
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Forgiveness is Hard
Bryan: this is episode 14 of the amplified marriage podcast to forgive or not to forgive. That is the question
Welcome to another episode of amplified marriage. My name is Brian, my name's Natalie, wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Grab a seat, get comfortable. Grab a coffee. We are going to be talking today about forgiveness. Or
Natalie: unforgiveness just
Bryan: depending where you happen to land on this particular conversation.
Right. When we were preparing today, I found a quote from Louis B and it says this to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. That's so good. I can tell you from experience. Yeah. That unforgiveness is a cage that you build around yourself. That becomes something that that's all you focus on.
That's all you think about that it grows in your heart. It gets worse and worse, and it actually prevents you from moving forward in so many different areas of life. Big time. And so today we kind of just want to define what we feel forgiveness is really and what it is. And so, uh, first we really have to understand what forgiveness is and what does it say here?
Natalie: Forgiveness is surrendering the right to retaliate against someone who's hurt you. And you know, it, it doesn't say that you're not going to go through all the feels, right. When someone hurts you. Um, but it's a submitting and a laying down. The idea of retaliating against them. Yeah. It's not relinquishing your boundaries or your dignity, and it's certainly not a cheaper, easy thing to extend to someone else, especially when you've been wronged.
Bryan: Right. And even when he, you know, and those of you that are listening, you know, that your spouse, husband, or wife, um, has said, or done things that have hurt your feelings have hurt your ego, your pride taking a weapon, maybe you at one point or another have felt emasculated or something like that.
But, you know, and even in the Bible, it says in Luke, he says, you will not go through life without having the opportunity to be offended.
Natalie: I think it's so important to that. You know what it is that your. Forgiving and you know what it is that you are asking forgiveness for. Right. So I think that needs to be clear because generalizations don't cut it.
No. Um, in our experience anyways, I, I feel like we go further in our communication when, if I've raised, if I've just all of a sudden started yelling at you for something, and I completely tore you apart. Um, saying, Hey, oh, I'm sorry for what I did today, without being specific, a blanket statement of like throwing it on there, which thing are you referring to?
Like eight oh eight this morning or 1:00 PM, right? Like which offense are you? Are you referring to? So I think the more detailed you can be, I think really helps to eliminate any confusion of what exactly you're apologizing for. And it gives. The other person clarity to know what exactly they're forgiving.
Bryan: Yeah. And in, in that spirit of forgiveness or in that process of offering forgiveness and asking for forgiveness, I think something that culture has said that we need to do is forgive and forget. And I think that I actually feel like that's some of the most damaging thing that you can do. I think that 100% you can forgive, but you can't forget.
Right, or I don't even know if you should forget. And I think that's more in like extreme cases. Like if you had an uncle that abused your daughter. Oh, I would never forget that. And you'd never forget. Maybe you can forgive in the flesh yet. You might be in your spirit. Maybe you can forgive, but you're never going to forget
Natalie: even that is a process.
And I think a lot of times in, um, Church circles. It's kind of one of those tossed out statements of like, oh, you know, you just need to forgive. Well, sometimes forgiveness takes the process. Like we had a very strange relationship with your dad and it was years of, um, and it was bad. Um, and it was. A long time before I could.
And it was one of those, like the word says to forgive 70 times seven will, this was like 99 times
Bryan: or 99.
Natalie: Yeah, really? Wasn't for me, it took years for me to come to a place where I honestly forgave in my heart. I kept saying, I forgive him. I forgive him. And it was a process. It was not instantaneous. And. I feel like sometimes we just, you know, we want it done it over with, without taking any accountability or responsibility for it.
Um, but there has to be a heart change. Right, right. And so, um, for me, anyways, it was a, it was a long process
Bryan: and I got there. We did. And now it's actually, it's a fun relationship.
Natalie: Um, right. But it certainly was not an easy, it was not an easy thing to extend right. In my heart. Towards that situation. It was really challenging.
Bryan: And it's, and again, what we're saying is, is that the forgiveness part is it's a process and you have to leave it at God's in God's hands more often than not because in the flesh, I don't want to forgive. Right. But no, but in the spirit, I'm like, I know this is what I'm supposed to do. This is what God's asking me to do in order for me myself to move forward.
And even you really recognize that even for us to move forward or you to move forward, you have to let go of that and actually not carry that. Weight of unforgiveness. And even when you said, okay, I'm going to forgive and we're moving in that direction, it was still weighty. And it still took, it was like one minute.
Yes. And one minute, no, one minute. Yes. One minute, no back and forth. And it was, it was a tough, tough battle to go through.
Natalie: Yeah. And I, I think to not on, on bigger things, I mean, if you, uh, I don't know if you. We're playing a game or whatever. And I felt like you shoved me out of the way to get the score, whatever.
I mean, that's the score or the goal, whatever. That's more. I don't know, easily forgivable, I guess. Well, even,
Bryan: even in what we were talking about, uh, some of the things as we move on down, down the line of our, our podcast today is, um, some of these things are petty or just small things that you just need to learn to let go of.
And I think even as we're talking about this here, maybe you're thinking, you said, well, I'm holding on to unforgiveness. Why is forgiveness so important? Well, one there's actually health benefits, like from the Mayo clinic, I'm going to read some statistics about. Um, what's the benefits on a physical level?
What happens to your mental health when you forgive? But the one thing I do want to address really quickly, and this is maybe it's more particular towards men and maybe you can address the women's side, but men, we often in the past, I've had to overcome this because I'm married and I have a daughter and a wife, but we have often equated if, where I have to ask for forgiveness, because I've done something wrong.
It's equated to weakness and it's widely believed or thought of that. If you are asking for forgiveness or you forgiving someone, you are actually condoning or saying that behavior was acceptable.
Natalie: That's right. And that is so not what forgiveness is. Um, but it has like, I, I can think of lots of situations where, um, it's kind of like a sweep it under the rug.
Metallo I said, sorry. Except that you don't even know what you're saying. Sorry for, and you just want the situation to be swept under the rug without there being reconciliation or a heart change or anything like that. And that. That's what the issue.
Bryan: Right. And not dealing with it, with that thing and just doing the blanket forgiveness.
I forgive, please forgive me for this without being specific. Hey, I said these things specifically to you. That's
Natalie: right. And I, and forgiveness provides healing, right? It really does to be able to let go, feels like a weight off your shoulders. I've experienced it. There's a stress. There's a anxiety. There is.
A tension that you hold in your own body, right? Um, a tightness that when you truly forgive and it could be like, And moment by moment process. And
Bryan: I think, I think I'm going to make a statement too, towards men in particular, if you're listening to this men, real men, men that are strong men that are manly offer forgiveness and will ask for forgiveness to be, to be a strong man.
Natalie: That's right. I mean, no one wants to be wrong and no one wants to admit that they're wrong. Like as human nature, we all want to be right. Let's be honest, but we're not always right. And one of the things that, um, we value is taking ownership of our part and our, and the tone of our voice and the actions behind said tone or the rule of our eyes or whatever it might be that we do that hurts the other person taking responsibility.
For that and saying, Hey, you know what, I was wrong.
Bryan: And really forgiveness is a strength because it does show your partner or the person you're asking you for giving us over, offering forgiveness to, um, that you're like, Hey, I appreciate you. And I value enough to come to you and do that. And forgiveness is, is about giving of yourself.
Uh, And that your children to your partner, to your, the kind of future that they obviously they deserve from you and your friends deserve that kind of future from you, not laced or filtered by hurt or anger. Right? It's not about twos in the life where others don't. If you are an, if you're holding unforgiveness in your heart, someone else has power over you.
Natalie: That's right. And the situation has power over you. And then you're the one that's tormented
Bryan: and you're empowering the circumstance. Yeah. Um, to actually rent space in your brain and actually stop you from seeing the best and moving from that's
Natalie: right. If we think of unforgiveness like a seed it's real small at first and, and what you choose to feed it, or if you choose to feed the unforgiveness with thoughts of.
Um, bitterness or resentment, or like, I really can't stand, you know, my spouse, I really hate when he or she, or she does this, that
Bryan: just to say even, uh, like to say that really. A committed language. I hate when they do
Natalie: that. Yeah. But then it starts to starts to grow because
Bryan: you're letting that in, like, Hey, right.
So here's some of those, uh, this is some of the health benefits of actually, uh, if you hold on to old hurts disappointments, petty things, and the marriage betrayals in seven in sensitivity or anger, um, you are really eating up your time and your energy and your life. Yeah. Um, if you nurse that hurt for too long, it can actually have some negative health effects.
And this is some of the information that I picked up from the Mayo clinic. Actually, he said, lack of forgiveness can also wear you down. It's unforgiving. It takes a physical and a mental toll. These are the benefits of forgiving someone letting go of the grudges and the BR and the bitterness. You have healthier relationships.
You have an improved mental health, there's less stress, there's less anxiety and hostility. You can have lower blood pressure, blood pressure. You have fewer symptoms of depression. You have a stronger immune system, you have improved heart health, improved self esteem, there's health benefits for not holding on to that anger.
I can, can tell you
Natalie: whether or not the anger or the hurt against you is a real, like an actual situation that has happened or something that you perceived to be a situation that really wasn't either or what you choose to nurture.
Bryan: Um, what you feed through what you starve dies, right? This is, this is the truth.
If you feed your unforgiveness, it's going to grow and grow and grow. But if you starve it and move away from it and don't give it to any animal of any kind or any kind of protein whatsoever, it will
Natalie: die. Yeah. And I think too, um, just to mention before we continue, like, there are situations where I've had to go see a counselor in order to help me process, um, some really devastating things, not in our marriage, but just in my personal life.
Um, with family where I needed help to be able to process what I was feeling in order to come to that place of forgiveness. And, um, if that's where you're at. Like don't, don't hesitate to get help. Right. And I mean, I am thankful that, you know, what we've walked through with the unforgiveness is not dire situations.
Like some of the other people that we know that have gone through worse situations. Right. And not, not to be flippant or say, well, you know, That's not a big deal. Yeah. It is a big deal. And if you need to get help and you need to see a counselor in order to help work through some of those traumatic
Bryan: situations, you touched on something, uh, right.
Uh, just a couple of minutes ago, you said maybe even in our, your own marriage, you're listening to this right now. And you're like, well, you and your husband, you've had to work through some stuff, but it's not been like super dire, like you've spoken of, but yeah. One or both of you are holding in unforgiveness in another area, like your family.
You're like we have, we've had issues with a mom Natalie's mom, those things, um, that unforgiveness and the things that have gone in there. How did that affect us in the children?
Natalie: It was bad because. I could not understand our relationship. The relationship is, is no longer, and it's a toxic situation that I stepped away from.
Now. There's a lot of, there's a process of healing that has come. Um, and this has been. A couple of years of being able to walk through that. Right. But I was so consumed as all consuming and I was angry and I was that's the only thing that I could think about was whatever the situation happened to be that day.
And I was. Barking at the kids. And I was, my tolerance level was like zero and it just played over in my mind. It was like over and over and, and I would just obsess about the situation. Um,
Bryan: what about when she would even just leave a text message? You wouldn't even talk to her on the phone and just leave a text message
Natalie: zero to 60 in like two seconds.
Yeah. I was just instant rage, um, because it was abusive and, um, I, it was just, it was awful. So I sought out some counseling in order to help me better and process and not be so angry at what was clearly out of my control. Right, right. And so, no, um, we're not in a relationship and it's the best thing for.
Me and for my family.
Bryan: Um, yeah. And, and the truth is even in this situation, um, I knew something was up for a long, long, long, long time, and I've been saying something, but we are in the center of it. So I didn't even always see it. And the time came where it was almost like an act of God to speak past the unforgiveness, past the anger, past the frustration, past the hurt, past the wounds to speak directly to Natalie's heart.
And in that moment, um, I could have held on to. Resentment. Oh, for sure.
Natalie: Because of how I spoke to
Bryan: you. Um, you pro they care, you're a verbal processor. Once you get past a certain states, you're just an outward, it all comes out. Um, and I could have held on to unforgiveness for, for the things that were said, and you were never.
Yeah, it was tone more than it was language. Like it was never like you're personally attacking me, but it was just tone and frustration and short temper that the moment that we cut that relationship out and he said, look, I forgive her, but we can't continue in this relationship. Nope. It's like, peace has come over you in a way that it is unreal and it's like completely different than it was ever, ever.
Natalie: 20 years. Yeah. I find myself, it still tries to creep back though. So, I mean, just because I was like, okay, like I'm at a point where I can forgive it doesn't mean that it won't try to revisit you again, the feelings. Right. And so again, like I had received a text and it was just inspiration. I'm like, this has been months, like I got a handle on this.
I'm okay. And clearly I don't, because it's still, you still tries.
Bryan: Um, but I think, I think the difference, no doubt now. And that is that when the text came, it wasn't a few days, it was like an hour. That's the difference is that you're like, man, I've had to make this decision. I'm not going to please people anymore.
I'm going to do this. This is, I want to please God first. And my family and my children are healthier and better because of it. And they're
Natalie: more important. Yeah. Yeah. And it just kind of, it reminds me of the scripture of a dock returning to its vomit. It was something. A volatile situation that I had walked out of, uh, to then just throw the progress that I've made away over.
That just did not seem worth it. And I, I seriously stopped because I was gonna text back and it was going to be very nasty. And, um, I stopped mid paragraph and I was like, what am I doing? Right. This is just, we're not feeding this any longer, like it's done and we're not engaging in that anymore. Um, and I felt the weight lift.
Yeah. Um, but yeah, it's a process people. It sometimes it's like, oh, that was easy. Yeah. Opened the door and I was behind it and you bonked me or whatever. And it's one, sorry, I didn't mean him. Okay. I forgive you. I mean, sometimes it's instantaneous and sometimes it's a process. Right. And if you need help by all means.
Bryan: Yeah. And there's, there's two things that, um, We really feel that there's probably way more, but we wanted to focus on just these two, two things that really happen when you actually offer forgiveness to your spouse and you live in a place of forgiveness for each other, for all of the things that we've the aforementioned things.
But the number one is the act of forgiveness really does strengthen your, the love for each other. Cause you're, we are in that moment, you're accepting them for who they are. And vulnerable. Yeah. And there's, there's something actually in some of the, we want to talk about patients, some of the podcasts coming up, one of the things is that, um, if you're trying to, to change the other person constantly, yeah.
That's going to wear them out. Yep. The same thing as it would, if you're trying to force them to forgive, instead of just being in a place of forgiveness and that's where you want your relationship to be. And you may be thinking that guys. My relationship is so far away. We don't even know how to experience forgiveness anymore.
We don't know how to offer or ask for it, or we don't
Natalie: even want to.
Bryan: Yeah. And sometimes you just have this buildup of compound problem after compound problem on top of each other, that even the idea of, and here's the truth of humbling yourself. Yeah. And in an argument, or even at this stage of your relationship, you're struggling this way.
Yeah. The thought of it actually just makes you angry. Yes. I can tell you that because we've been there where just the thought of going to her and be like, you know what? I was wrong, please forgive me. Um, made me want to just punch him. Yeah, he was, yeah, I'm sleeping on the couch, but um, if you're at that place, we understand and you can get there.
It's just one of you, or both of you has to just be like, look, I love you. I care for you. I want this relationship to work and be willing to it and work for
Natalie: That's why when we forgive one another. It's a S it's a sacrificial love. Um, and it's one of those things like I can forgive because I've been forgiven much.
Right. Um, and in the moment, no one wants to hear that. Yeah. Um,
Bryan: I'm never going to use that on you in the middle of an oven.
Natalie: We didn't, but in reality, it's the truth, right? Um, if Christ could forgive us for all the stuff that we do. Then really realistically to be able to forgive each other, that what you're saying and desire that, to be honest, our whole married life has been one where we do not want to let any sort of gap be a place of vulnerability where.
Anything could come in to destroy our marriage and separate us. And forgiveness is one of those areas where if it gets the upper hand or the unforgiveness, rather get to the upper hand, um, it can have catastrophic. Results. And that's not what we want right. In our marriage. And so it's a, it's a battle of the mind and the heart of like, I value you.
And yes, there's stuff where we, it has been a process to forgive some of the loony tune things that you've done, but. In hindsight, in my mind, anyways, people have had it way worse, right. And to be able to put it in that context of like, of all the things that I could be forgiving. Um, this isn't, this isn't like, you know, die, die on a hill comparatively.
Right. And to be able to just categorize.
Bryan: And even as we're saying it like that, if you are holding unforgiveness, it's like a weed that will overtake your heart and it gets deeper and deeper into the root of your heart and becomes just so embedded. But the other is true when you forgive and you offer forgiveness and you have a marriage that's built around, Hey, I'm going to forgive you.
Yeah. Those. Re bonds and roots become deeper and deeper. So that forgiveness rains and the other things have no place. Unforgiveness doesn't have a place. I want
Natalie: forgiveness to be a default setting as opposed to
Bryan: unforgiveness. That's good. I like that forgiveness as the default
Natalie: and the next one.
Bryan: That's right.
And it just, it does, it builds intimacy depth for sure. That's for sure. The next one is forgiveness sets us free. Uh, at first it releases the offender and it really does release the offender and then it releases the one who
Natalie: was right. Even though the offender might never know or even care. Exactly in this situation with your dad.
I had to wear these because I was holding him to an apology and I really felt like the Lord speak to my heart. What if that never comes then, will you have wasted the rest of your life being angry about something that you can't control? Right. So it was a really great picture to be able to this isn't about.
Waiting for an apology. This is about in my own heart saying, I release you. And that is what it is. It's a releasing of the emotional ties, I guess, to the situation
Bryan: that it, it, it benefits each person, just as much the offender and the one who has heard it had benefits just as much. Um, it sets us free from being dragged down for unforgiveness.
If we're planting the root of forgiveness as it. As a default. I love that as the default setting in the relationship, the unforgiveness has no place. And the truth is, is one thing we had, maybe we haven't talked about or mentioned is that when you learn to forgive your spouse, it's easier to forgive others.
Yes, because oftentimes the spouse is the one that has, has the most hold on your heart that has the most value, the most importance and can say things or do things that are going to hurt the most. And so in comparison, a lot of the times, not all the time, um, forgiving other people is easier because of the things you've walked through with your spouse.
If you've built the default setting on forgiveness. That's right.
Natalie: And for us, let's just talk, talk about the whole, you know, intimacy and sex when. We're operating in a state of unforgiveness, like in our marriage, if he was ticked off with me about something, or I was ticked off with him and we were just in that state of, of, um, what do you call it?
Standing our grounds, but both of us were not in the right, whatever that's called. Um, and there was no intimacy, right? We value intimacy. And for us, that means that we're connected on all, like all that. Cylinders are firing. Um, we just don't operate in a state of where we separate the act, right. With the intimacy that it brings.
And so. I'm sure there are people that do, and you do you, um, but really strive for that, that place of intimacy where that's not affected because you are will, you're unwilling to forgive.
Bryan: Yeah. And there's going to be times when we need to offer forgiveness before the other one. Yeah. I know, and sometimes people hear this and like, oh, I don't want to do that.
Are you crazy? I don't want to be the one that has to make the first step, but I think we really need in our relationship as a default setting to take the high road for making forgiveness, our default setting and our priority, we have to try and take the high road that is not easy.
Natalie: That's not easy. And, and that's.
You know, like we're, we haven't even, that's not talking about like, uh, fares in the marriage and things like that. Like, that's not, that's a whole different can of worms, right? Um, that is a betrayal that is so deeply wounding and it's not just where we just take the high road because he got caught or it got found out that's not at all.
Um, that needs professional help. Yeah, absolutely for sure. But in the day to day stuff, you know, when you lie to me for. A long time about you're not smoking. Right. Which yes, that is a betrayal as well as a betrayal of my trust when I was made to feel crazy for even kind of, um, bringing it up, um, in the grand scheme of things like we didn't have to go to, we didn't have to go to counseling, but some one might have had to go to counseling because of that.
So there's not like a, a list of the worst. Ones, um, that you seek professional help for. And then if it falls into this category, then whatever, I mean, you have to assess that in your own relationship. As we close the act of forgiveness strengthens our love creates intimate bond and forgiveness sets us free.
Bryan: Thank you so much for joining us. If you like our podcast, it really means a lot when you share it to leave a review and let people know about amplified marriage. Our goal really is just to help as many married couples, young, old in the middle, anyone that's in relationships just realize that relationships and marriage are survivable and you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
If there's a topic or a question or anything you would like for us to discuss, please, please email email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you. And as you've heard us say before, we believe that marriage can be reset, refreshed, recharged, and thanks so much for listening.
hello, this is Brian and Natalie, before you continue on to your regular scheduled podcast, listening adventure, we just wanted to say a great big thank you for all of your support these last months. It means a lot to us from the beginning of the pandemic, to the middle of the pandemic. Now, what we hope is going to be the near the end of the pandemic, but we do have something big.
We want to share with you
Natalie: two words completely great. I love free. So do I, Brian and I are really excited to host a webinar. We're doing two separate relationship workshops and you might be thinking, well, I'm not married. So this doesn't really apply. Thank again. If you're single, if you're already married, if you're a newlywed thinking of getting married one day, these workshops are definitely for you.
So mark your calendars Wednesday, February 24th at 7:00 PM and Wednesday, March 3rd at 7:00 PM. And that is. Pacific standard time.
Bryan: Absolutely. And if you're wondering where to register, just go to our firstname.lastname@example.org and you're going to see right at the top, it says, amplified marriage, virtual workshop, click on there, and all the information is there for your viewing pleasure.
We are. So excited to be able to do this, and we hope to see you there. .