Relationship Counselling Helps Unwrap the Gift of Forgiveness

couple crossing street

There is no better time than the beginning of the New Year to focus on giving, togetherness and new beginnings to consciously put behind one’s anger, bitterness or regrets, and embrace forgiveness—whether it needs to be sought, or offered. As anyone who has benefited from relationship counselling can attest, while the road to forgiveness is challenging and takes work, walking in the freedom of forgiveness can be done, and is worth the effort!

Forgiveness is an issue that consistently comes up as a seemingly insurmountable obstacle for couples in counselling in Ottawa, because to forgive someone means choosing to look beyond the hurt or offense that has been so paralyzing, and to seek forgiveness requires the admission of wrongdoing, and the commitment to change. Neither “position” is an easy one to be in. Fortunately, relationship counselling can help couples navigate through the confusing and often complicated issues of trust, fault, self-reflection and communication that often impede the road to forgiveness.

Probably one of the greatest benefits to seeking counselling in Ottawa is the perspective a therapist can provide. Emotional pain often prevents us from understanding a partner’s actions—or inactions, which in turn prevents the ability to heal and move on. Attitudes, choice of words, and even tone of voice can all be stumbling blocks to the communication needed to effect forgiveness. Too often, love gets trumped by selfishness or desire for justice; human nature dictates that people rarely lack in finding reasons to do what they want to do, or in withholding forgiveness from the one hurting them. The question posed for those in relationship counselling then becomes one of personal rights vs. love and which one a couple desires to see triumph.

Therapists offering counselling in Ottawa help couples understand that asking for, or offering forgiveness is a giant exercise in humility. Fear, anger, and perhaps most importantly, ego, need to be willingly set aside in order for apologies and forgiveness to happen. As couples in relationship counselling know, unresolved issues with loved ones only serve to “eat us up” inside. It’s important to keep communication straightforward, simple, and genuine—apologizing for, or forgiving, one thing at a time—accepting full responsibility if one’s committed the wrongdoing, and refraining from further accusing or complicating the issue if one’s been wronged.

Obviously, repairing a relationship takes time and patience; committing to ongoing counselling in Ottawa is one way to demonstrate that a desire for change is based on actions and words. It’s also not unusual for either partner in a relationship to show more or less readiness to apologize or forgive; this is where love and respect for one’s partner provides the patience to wait until he or she is ready to take the step of apology or forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not only an end goal. With the support of some counselling in Ottawa, it’s also a fresh start—in which forgiveness of each other—as well as of one’s own self—can be a new foundation on which to rebuild the relationship.