Forgiveness is NOT a Blank Checkhttp://savethemarriage.com/stmblog/wp-content/themes/corpus/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D. Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D. http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/669b7e375d93f77521ddaba08adb8063?s=96&d=blank&r=pg
And in a marriage, there are ample opportunities to practice forgiving. “Every-day forgiving” and big-time forgiving. In such an intimate relationship, you are going to step on toes, hurt each other’s feelings, make bad decisions — and still have to figure out how to move forward. You do that by forgiving.
BUT (and this is a big BUT, which is why I capitalized it and bolded it) that does not mean the “forgiven” has carte blanche to keep up the behavior that required the forgiving. (By the way, not to chase a tangent, but did you know that carte blanche means “white card” or “blank card,” meaning a check that is blank, but has been signed? In other words, a “blank check.”)
When someone is forgiven, it is not permission to do “it” (whatever the “it” is that causes the need for forgiveness). Forgiving is a decision to move forward. It may or may not include moving forward in relationship. But it is deciding to move forward in the face of something that happened.
There is a saying that “the first time is a mistake, the second time is a choice.” I would add, “the third time, on, it is a habit.” Forgiving something is not an open opportunity to repeat the behavior.
Similarly, an apology is not an opportunity to repeat the behavior. It is an acknowledgement of a mistake and an opportunity for change.
One apologizes AND takes the opportunity to change (I have a podcast on apologizing). One forgives, SO THAT the hurt and pain can be left behind.
Listen to the podcast below for more.
(. . . and if you need to catch up on the Immutable Laws Of Marriage series, here are the older episodes:)
Immutable Laws Of Marriage Series
#1 Marriage Is About Becoming A WE
#2 Marriage Is NOT A Vehicle for Happiness (Or Misery)
#3 We ALL Have Fear
#4 There Is NO Pause
#5 Connection Is The Lifeblood
#6 The Goal Of Conflict Is Progress
#7 Love Is What You Do
#8 Look For The Best In Your Spouse
#9 You Have To Show Up
#10 Civility and Respect Is A Choice
#11 Trust Is A Gift
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- Save Your Marriage Podcast
Dr. Baucom is internationally known for his methods and approaches to saving marriages. For over 25 years, Dr. Baucom has been helping people around the world to save, restore, and create the relationships they desire and deserve. He is the author of the book, How To Save Your Marriage In 3 Simple Steps, and creator of the Save The Marriage System, as well as numerous other resources.All stories by: Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.