Do you only vaguely remember the vapor against the back window of his orange VW Beetle and that time your limbs performed acrobatic tricks you didn’t think were possible? Then it is time to once again close the bedroom door behind you… and let your imagination run wild!
Here are a few ideas to step out of your comfort zone:
- Book a hotel room and send a WhatsApp message to your partner to meet you there over lunchtime. Or plan an evening away for the two of you. Dress up and pretend that you are meeting each other in secret. Arrive separately and rip the clothes off each other!
- Sex on the kitchen table. You have most probably have heard of this one, but have you tried it yet? While busy in the kitchen, call him to come and help with something and wait for him wearing just your apron. If you really want to be dramatic, he can wipe everything off the table top before lifting you on there.
- In a swimming pool. Go away for the weekend to a holiday resort where there is a steaming hot pool. If entry is prohibited, however, rather don’t risk it. If you have a swimming pool at home, it can still be just as adventurous as you sneak out so that the kids don’t hear about your midnight escapades in the pool.
- On the boardroom table at work! If hubby has to work late, let him know that you will pop in quickly to say hello. Just make sure that no one else is working late. Put on your sexiest underwear underneath a big coat and surprise him. During Monday’s meeting he will definitely picture you on that very same table.
- When no one else is home, offer to help him wash the car. Park the car in the back yard, put on a white T-shirt and a bikini bottom and start washing. The result? Sex on the hood of his car – guaranteed!
- Ask for his help with the laundry and when you get to the washing machine, switch it on to start a load. Then get on top of the machine and pull him close…
- In the cold winter months, very few things beat sex in front of the fireplace. Put on some romantic music, light a few candles, open a bottle of red wine and place a soft carpet or blanket in front of the fire. Invite him to join you and one thing will most definitely lead to the next…
- When visiting his parents’ house, pay close attention to his every move. A few minutes after he excuses himself to go to the bathroom, get up from the table and wait for him outside the door. Surprise him with a passionate kiss and lead him into his old bedroom as a child.
- A weekend in the countryside can get very exciting. When visiting friends who live on a farm, go for a walk – just the two of you. Secretly run to the barn and throw your clothes over a haystack. Get down right there, but beware of sharp straw hems.
- Dune sex is a hit! When on holiday at the coast, go for a walk along the beach and lead him away from the water, into the dunes. As long as the wind isn’t blowing too strongly, you can have amazing sex between the dunes, without anyone seeing you, and with the sound of the waves in your ears and the sun on your naked skin.
- In a treehouse. When the kids are away one weekend, you can do it Tarzan-and-Jane-style. Break into the kids’ treehouse and go wild amongst the branches.
- Go shopping together for clothes. Take a few items with you to the changing room as if you are going to fit them. Hubby should stay close, perhaps checking out some woman’s underwear in the meantime. Call the assistant to bring you a different size of a certain item and once she is gone, hubby can sneak in. Slip into another cubicle and get it on with mirrors all around.
- When going camping, the possibilities are endless. Go for a walk and as long as the route is safe, you can wander off the trail and look for a spot where you can lie down between the ferns. You can also have sex against the walls of a cave or in a mountain pool. In the evenings the tent is available, but if you are alone, a spot next to the open fire is even better.
- Have you ever had sex in a rocking chair? There are people who claim that it is the best moving sex that one can have. If it is one of your fantasies to have sex while you and your partner are moving, you can also try it on a swing, a merry-go-round or a hammock.
- Sex in the back row at the movies is also a popular, but risky option. Buy tickets for the late-night show in the middle of the week, when it is unlikely that there would be many other people. Pick a romantic movie so that you have an appropriate backtrack to set the mood and one where hubby won’t move you aside to watch the end!
- In the sauna. For a warm, sweaty experience, don’t let the opportunity pass by to enjoy a sauna together. Sitting in a sauna is boring, hot and you only have towels around your bodies. Pretend that you are sitting somewhere exotic in a log cabin and there are long benches. Your bodies are so sweaty that you are slippery enough to slide around. And ladies, just think about all the calories that you will burn by combining a sauna session with a good round of sex!
- Visit a library – the bigger the better. A university library is a good idea to remind you about the carefree days when you could make out non-stop for 24 hours! Leave a note in his shirt pocket to meet you in the English Literature or Biology section. Then read a passionate Shakespeare piece or inspect a biology sketch of the human body before you bring those words and images to life between the bookshelves.
- Sex in the bathroom can also have many variations. Do it on the edge of the bath, in a tub with bubble bath, under the shower or quite simply flat on the bathroom tiles.
- On the stairs. There are few things so romantic as when a man carries his wife up the stairs to the bedroom. However, it is not even necessary to reach the bedroom. The railing and the fact that the stairs are at different heights create many opportunities for all kinds of interesting positions.
- The Mile-High Club is the phrase used to associate people who have had sex on a plane. If you have ever noticed people leaving the restroom cubicle on a plane at the same time, or shortly after one another, they are probably now members of the Mile-High Club… Maybe you should try.
The list really is endless. Any space that is big enough for two, is good enough for sex! Make a memory in each room of the house so that you can relive the remembrance of your passion time and again. And have sex in as many places as you dare. Whenever you revisit those spots, you will share a mysterious smile of which only you two know the meaning.
Believe it or not – these are also 20 tried and tested sex hot-spots:
- In a helicopter
- On a motorbike
- In a public restroom
- In a jacuzzi
- On a trampoline
- Under a rainbow
- In a field
- On a jungle gym
- On a balcony
- On the deck of a ship
- In a hot air balloon
- On the back of a horse
- While sailing in a canoe
- Next to a Christmas tree
- On a merry-go-round
- While scuba diving
- In the restroom at a restaurant
- On the wet grass under the full moon
- On the house’s roof
- Barefoot (and bareback) in the rain
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Are you roommates?
Every great marriage is rooted in a deep friendship, but what happens when you and your partner suddenly realise that you’re living as roommates instead of a married couple?
“Anton and I were always the best of friends. We could talk about anything under the sun for hours and we loved having a good conversation over a bottle of red wine. I used to think this was one of our marriage’s strengths, until I was watching a TV episode about roommates and realised that Anton and I were exactly the same as the roommates! The problem was that they shared an apartment and not much else,” says Danielle about her marriage.
“To my shock and dismay, I realised that I had been so focused on our friendship that our relationship was faltering. The romance and passion was gone – it was like it had somehow disappeared overnight.”
Danielle spoke to Anton about it and learned that the situation had been bothering him for quite some time, too. They decided they need to turn the situation around immediately and they were able to succesfully transform their roommate status back to one of husband and wife.
How does it happen?
Children arrive on the scene and bills pile up. So much time and energy gets dedicated to other responsibilities that intimacy falls to the wayside. Couples start taking their marriages for granted and believe that love will be enough to sustain the partnership in the long run. When this happens, partners stop really communicating with each other – they just tick the most important items off their to-do list. Sooner rather than later, they stop connecting emotionally.
Sometimes a marriage can seem so “normal” on the surface level that a couple thinks they’re in a good place because there’s no obvious drama or conflict. A rude awakening can happen when one (or both) partners wake up one morning and realise that they’re bored! According to Pepper Schwartz, a professor is sociology and psychology as well as author of Prime: Adventures and advice about sex, love and the sensual years, this can create a lot of distance between partners.
A couple in this situation can be the envy of their colleagues and friends because from the outside, it looks like a highly functional relationship. However, while the partners accept the responsibilities that go along with being married, they don’t get to experience any of the benefits. They don’t feel loved and the emotional intimacy is gone. So many couples start out as soul mates and best friends, only to turn into roommates who are consciously or subconsciously resentful towards each other.
How do you know you are moving into the danger zone?
- You use the kids as an excuse. There’s never any time for your husband because you have children and their needs and activities come first. You’re crumbling under all the kids’ responsibilities but you believe that you will be able to divert your attention back onto your husband again one day, probably when the kids have left the nest.
- You don’t spend time together anymore. Roommates don’t feel it’s necessary to spend quality time together because they see each other at home. This leads you to take turns babysitting so that you can attend your book club and so hubby can have a boys’ night out.
- You keep your hands to yourself. Roommates don’t touch each other. They don’t hug, kiss or hold hands. Maybe you feel like the kids are on top of you all day and you need a bit of personal space once they are in bed.
- You’ve forgotten how to flirt! There simply isn’t time for flirting. You don’t even laugh when he tells his old Dad Jokes… you’ve heard it so many times!
- You don’t sleep in the same bed. Maybe you’re sharing the bed with your little princess. Or your husband sleeps with Fido. Roommates don’t sleep together and regardless of the reason (he snores, it’s too hot), this forespells danger.
- You don’t make an effort. Due to all the abovementioned reasons, you’re not really in the mood for sex so you’ve decided your husband doesn’t need it, either. You wear your oldest sweatpants to bed and parade around in a green face mask in front of him.
- You keep your wallets to yourselves. Roommates don’t share money and you don’t want someone checking up on you when you want to splurge on that new bottle of perfume. Each of you has a separate bank account and credit card. For some couples, this financial strategy works well. For others, it creates a divide.
What do you do?
- Be realistic. You can have great sex again, but all nighters might be a bit unrealistic if your youngest pops into your bedroom three times a night and your husband has to give a big presentation the following morning.
- Schedule sex. Discuss your schedules and needs, then set time aside for sex. It might not be the hanging-from-the-chandeliers type of sex, but don’t stop doing it. Sex isn’t optional.
- Create intimacy. Save information to share with your partner exclusively. Marriage is about the union between a husband and wife. If one or both of you shares your most private thoughts and dreams with someone outside of the marriage, then the intimacy between the two of you isn’t being valued highly enough.
- Do something exciting. Don’t let boredom get you down. Take a cooking class or a surfing lesson together. Make sure there is at least one hobby that the both of you share. Embarking on a new adventure together will give you focus (and it’s good for your sex life!)
- Discuss things that matter. Forget about shallow conversations topics for a while (“How was your day?”, “Do you want a cup of coffee?”) and focus on having deeper conversations. Create a ritual for the two of you, such as taking a 20-minute walk together in the afternoons when you can chat. Ask each other a meaningful question during those 20 minutes, like: “If you had to pick one goal to achieve before you turn 60, what would it be?”
You can be the best of friends and super comfortable around each other, but what sets your marriage apart from the relationships you have with friends is the type of intimacy that is shared between two people who are married. Be conscious about these issues and make sure that your partner feels like more than just a roommate!
Additional sources: www.thrivingcouples.com, www.webmd.com, www.jennyschermerhorn.com, www.yourtango.com, www.newspring.cc, www.marriedandyoung.com.
Have you and your partner lost your connection? Maybe you’re just stuck in a rut after picking up a few bad habits. Reconnect with your partner by establishing a new, strong connection. Here is how to do it:
To reconnect emotionally:
- Don’t let the gap between the two of you grow larger. It’s normal to feel a bit disconnected from your partner during our fast-paced lives and it’s understandable that you want a bit of space after the two of you had a fight, but don’t withdraw.
- Know how, when and where to show remorse. Did you give your partner harsh criticism or forget her birthday? Say that you are sorry. If apologizing is hard for you, tell your partner that you are feeling remorse and that you are struggling with a feeling of regret. This way, your partner will know that you are feeling remorseful.
- Don’t use dangerous fighting tactics. If you’re feeling compelled to threaten or blame your partner, or to set an ultimatum, don’t act on it. These are negative emotions that will have a damaging outcome on your relationship instead of a good outcome.
To reconnect spiritually:
- Discuss the intense topics and questions! Start a conversation about why you think you are on earth, what you think God’s plan is with your marriage, what the Afterlife looks like, and about your prayers that have already been answered by God. Don’t be afraid of having an intense conversation – not only could it give you new insights about your faith, but it can also help you to get a new perspective on your partner’s ideas and outlook on life.
- Embrace faith when you are going down the wrong road. On com, Tiffany Fletcher writes: “Many times we get derailed because we have forgotten where we are going. Our destination is muddled because our purpose for continuing is unclear. When we embrace faith, with it comes knowledge of why we are here and where we are going. We gain a clearer understanding of God’s purpose for our life and what we can do to better fulfill his plan for us.”
- Be graceful towards your partner. Remember that you are two individuals and each of you is on his or her own spiritual journey. Maybe the two of you are not feeling the same regarding your faith. In the same way that God shows mercy towards you, you need to also be merciful and forgiving towards your partner. Be patient and understanding.
To reconnect intellectually:
- When was the last time that you talked about the future? The future that you used to muse about may have already arrived and it could look vastly different from the picture you had painted for yourselves. Make time to sit down in a coffee shop with your partner and discuss your health, educational, career, business, financial and political goals for the year ahead.
- Set aside time to talk to your partner, and ask him or her the following questions:
- What do you think would be a good investment for our marriage?
- What do you love about our marriage?
- What do you think is better than earth-shattering sex in a marriage?
- Stay curious about your partner. Forget the everyday questions like “How was your day?”, and ask open-ended questions that require a bit more thought, such as:
- What did you do today that you really enjoyed?
- How are things going with your team at work?
- What do you think of Lisa and Ken’s decision to immigrate to New Zealand?
- How do you think so-and-so’s fraud case is going to pan out?
- Show your partner that you are really interested in him or her.
To reconnect physically:
For you and your partner to reconnect physically, you need to spend time together and be completely present.
- Give each other proper massages. Learn how to appreciate the value of a sensual massage, but make it an act of love and service as opposed to a means to an end.
- Sleep naked. A recent study showed that couples who sleep naked have a more satisfying sex life. Even if there is no physical touching throughout the night, the skin-on-skin contact is good for you on an emotional level.
- Be sensitive towards your partner’s needs for physical affection. Remember that not everyone requires or wants the same level or amount of physical touch. While some people flourish on physical closeness, others feel ‘overstimulated’ by too much touching. You don’t need to be holding hands, hugging and kissing to be physically close. Body language like the tone of your voice or certain facial expressions, such as a secret smile, can also help you to connect with your partner on a physical level.
To reconnect sexually:
- To establish a newfound sexual connection, start by flirting. Maybe you haven’t flirted for so long that it makes you uncomfortable, but the more you practice the better you will get at it.
- Initiate sex if you’re not the one who usually initiates it. By initiating sex, you are showing your partner that you are willing to make yourself vulnerable to be intimate with him or her. You will also be communicating that you desire your partner, and everyone wants to be desired.
- Give your partner a spoil session. This means that you take turns giving each other pleasure for a period (such as half an hour or an hour) without expecting anything in return. According to relationship coach Jordan Gray, this will help you to practice being selfless while it simultaneously teaches you to ask for what you want.
Being disconnected from your partner can be the catalyst to a growing sense of panic within you, but know that the situation can be reversed. To reconnect with your partner requires mostly small gestures that are born out of bravery to make big changes within your relationship. Start fresh – your marriage deserves it.
Additional sources: www.crosswalk.com, www.psychologytoday.com, www.hitchedmag.com, ourpeacefulfamily.com and “Emotional intimacy: A comprehensive guide for connecting with the power of your emotions” by Robert Augustus Masters.
When Peter decided to take his wife, Tessa, on a love journey, he could never predict how it would impact their relationship. Or which spiritual truths would arise . . .
The couple met when they were still students and after life took its turns, ended up farming and managing a guest house. After having three kids and despite having a healthy marriage, Peter decided to do something special for his wife. It had to be more meaningful than roses and chocolate, and it had to be more memorable than dinner at a fancy restaurant. So he decided on a love journey . . .
Where did he get the idea?
“I don’t know how I got the idea, but what I do know is that God always shows up where there is love. One day, I started thinking about the hierarchy that we are supposed to function within. God comes first, then your husband or wife, followed by your children and then your job.
“Why do we get so involved with our careers and kids that we tend to lose the spark that exists between you and your spouse? We forget about God, who brought us together. This is when I realized that the biggest gift I could give my children wouldn’t be paying for their private school education or buying them expensive gifts – it would be showing them that I truly love their mother.
“I see how my sons admire me and idolize everything I do. If I can show them how to treat their future wives, then I would have taught them a valuable lesson about life. And I obviously wanted to show my wife how much I care about her.”
What did the journey entail?
Although the love journey wasn’t planned as a birthday present, the timing of the journey coincidentally coincided with Tessa’s birthday. Peter explains that he isn’t a romantic guy by nature and that he found it challenging to come up with something completely original.
“Everything about the journey had to be fresh and true to us. I forced myself to think outside of the box and stay away from the same old gestures, such as taking her to dinner,” says Peter.
One morning, when Tessa was taking the kids to school, Peter handed the challenge over to God. Within half an hour, nine ideas came to his mind. Although all men are not handy with DIY tasks, everyone has their own unique talents and Peter started to work with determination.
He didn’t have time to work on his love journey project during the day, so he had to secretly plan everything without Tessa noticing what was going on. Each of the activities for the nine days was carefully planned so that the journey could flow smoothly.
This is how the love journey panned out:
I brought Tessa coffee in bed and put three flowers from the garden on a tray. I also included a glass vase filled with little wooden stars and a letter. Only one of the wooden stars was perfectly carved out and I placed this perfect star in the middle of the vase.
In the letter, I wrote: “There are many stars in the universe. Big ones, small ones, bright ones and pretty ones, but to me you are the biggest, brightest star. You are my star. Try to find the perfect star in this vase – this is what you are in my eyes.” I then left the house and continued with my farming activities.
I’m an involved father, but if I’m really honest I must admit that I don’t pull my weight when it comes to changing nappies and bathing the little ones. My wife takes care of everything.
I decided to show Tessa that I appreciate everything she does by writing letters to her from the point of view of our one-year-old daughter, and hiding them in the nappies that she would be using that day.
The letters read: “Thank you for changing my nappy when Daddy is too grossed out to do it”; “If I had to wait for Dad to change this nappy, my bum would have a rash”; “When I look at you while you change my nappy, I see the best mom in the whole world”; and “Mommy, do you know how beautiful you are?”
I brought my wife coffee and a small bottle of her favorite perfume in bed, with a note that read: “You might need this today. I love you.”
I continued with my daily activities and phoned my wife at home at about 11am to ask her to look for something specific in my office. Next to the computer, I left a bottle of rose-scented cream with a little poem that had a private joke that only the two of us would understand. She was laughing helplessly when she phoned me back. It was great fun!
At 2pm, I gave her a wood-based invite that had information engraved on it. It read:
Place: Our farm.
Time: As soon as you are done with everything you need to organize at the guest house (my wife runs the guest house on our farm).
What: Dinner for two by candlelight.
Dress code: Sexy.
Arrangements for Cara (our one-year-old daughter): Pack her overnight bag, she has a sleepover date.
Reason: You deserve it. I love you very much and I want to be with you, around you and inside you. Words can’t express what I feel.
The moment when she read the invitation, was priceless. The expression on her face looked like something between crying and laughing. While Tessa was busy helping the guests to settle in at the guesthouse, our neighbor dropped off a four-course meal that she had prepared for us and she took our daughter home with her for the sleepover. I put on my wife’s favorite music, set the table, and placed candles and roses around the living room and dining room.
When Tessa arrived, I blindfolded her and led her to the room, where she could change into her fancy outfit. The best times I’ve had with my wife have been at home, because the atmosphere is just right. No fancy restaurant can compete with the level of comfort we feel at home.
My wife was so relaxed and emotional about the whole setup that she found it hard to speak without crying. We spent time talking, dancing and just enjoying each other’s company in the empty house.
Afterwards, I told her that coffee would be served in bed. I bought her age-appropriate sexy nighties and I left it for her on the bed. It was an unforgettable night filled with passion and romance.
I work hard on the farm and didn’t have a lot of free time during the morning. My next surprise could only be kick-started at around lunch time. I made Tessa a ‘love box’, which was a wooden chest filled with six red wooden hearts, a lavender scented soap and a bottle of lavender cream.
I tried to remove all stressors from her day. I tended to the guests at the guesthouse, took care of some household tasks and got Cara to sleep with me in a different room so that she could get a good night’s rest.
I timed my appearance perfectly to coincide with the moment when she got out of the bath. I took a towel, dried her wet body and massaged the lavender cream all over her body. I felt such awe and appreciation for my wife in that moment. I was in awe of the fact that God had blessed me with the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and that I have the privilege to love her the way that I do.
Today is the day of love letters. I didn’t write any of the letters beforehand, but as the day progressed, I focused on Tessa and wrote down my thoughts. I surprised her with three letters throughout the day.
The first letter was about the previous night and how much it means to me to be able to care for her. The second letter was about all the feelings I experience whenever I look at her. The third letter was a letter asking for forgiveness. I asked her to forgive me for all the times that I was too selfish to consider her needs above my own.
Our sons are in boarding school during the week. Now it was weekend and we had a full house, so my plan was to involve my two sons so that they could help me make their mother feel like a princess.
We morphed a piece of metal into a sign that read ‘We love you’, and after the sun had set, we set it alight on the grass. When Tessa came out into the garden and saw it, she was visibly moved. One of my sons said: “Dad, we really have a great family, right?”
I got all three of my children to dip their hands in paint to create an invitation, which was inviting Tessa to a picnic in our tree house that evening. Throughout the day, each of the children gave their mom a handwritten letter telling her why they think she is the best mom in the world.
We cleaned the tree-house and placed pillows everywhere for us to sit. Tessa read the letters from the children out loud, and we had a great time eating and enjoying each other’s company. At one point, Tessa suggested that we all share secrets. The kids shared personal stories that we never would have known about. They shared insights about burdens they had carried. It was an amazing evening of laughing, sharing, crying and comforting. It felt very liberating.
On Sunday we had guests and I read to Tessa from the Bible. I read a passage from Song of Solomon to convey that there is a reason why I, as a man, am more focused on sensuality and sexuality than she is. God made us this way. I told her that the description of a woman in this part of the Bible is how I feel about her. I think she is the most beautiful thing on the planet.
Today is my wife’s birthday. She is turning 38. It’s a special day for her, even though I didn’t give her a present (I had bought her a Le Creuset casserole a month prior to her birthday).
Tessa took the kids to school at 6am, which is a two-hour drive from our farm, and she spent time with her girlfriends to celebrate her birthday. I made a big red heart, filled with 108 candles, and I got 200 roses. I arranged the flowers in bouquets all around the house, poured Tessa a bath and chilled a bottle of champagne.
When she came back, we got into the bath and chatted to each other. After the bath, I blindfolded her and led her to the bed before I massaged her entire body with cream and oils. When she took off her blindfold, I had 38 red hearts hanging from the ceiling. This concluded our love journey. My wife had to wipe away tears of appreciation and gratitude from her cheeks.
What did the love journey mean to Tessa?
Peter had warned her that he was planning something, but Tessa thought it would be a romantic evening out. When the love journey started, she immediately realized that this would be something different, something deeper . . .
She says that Peter regularly tells her he loves her and appreciates her, and that he is more of a practical guy that a romantic one. “I could tell that all the romantic and loving ideas came from him, it was something that God had catalyzed for us. Peter was definitely inspired by something, and he spent a lot of time planning and perfecting my love journey.”
She says that she once again realized that intimacy is something that we receive as a gift from God.
How did it change their sex life?
Peter says the frequency hasn’t changed, but the intensity has changed drastically. “Both me and my wife feel like we can’t get close enough to each other – we want to melt into each other. We could talk openly about our needs, we were less self-conscious and shy, and we were both really focused on pleasing each other. We were able to be in love selflessly again.
“Today I look back on our love journey as something that taught both of us how to appreciate each other again. It was much more than a journey, it was a path that God took us on to understand the true meaning of love between a husband and wife, as well as the love between the two of us and Him.”
It can be very hard to forgive someone who has broken your trust, but if your marriage necessitates forgiveness, you must try. How do you do it?
Caren and Jacques were the perfect couple. After being married for seven years, having two kids together and both having stable careers, Jacques cheated on Caren with a woman he met at the gym.
The affair only lasted a short time, but it led him down a path of strip clubs, Internet pornography and multiple lies. For two years, Caren felt like she didn’t even know her husband. He became a stranger to her, a person who didn’t respect her.
After attending a faith-based camp for men, Jacques turned his life around. He admitted all his transgressions and sins, showed true remorse and asked for forgiveness. But this was a big request from his side . . .
On his website, marriage and family therapist Bernell Christensen writes that he regularly works with spouses who find it hard to forgive their partners after years of betrayal. “A partner can experience rejection, confusion, feelings of inadequateness and self-doubt, as well as other strong emotions.
“If you don’t deal with these emotions in a productive and healthy way, it can become toxic. These feelings can damage the health and wellbeing of the spouse who is experiencing the negative emotions, and it can cause damage in the relationship.”
Maybe you can relate with Caren’s story. No marriage is completely free of transgressions. Everyone is prone to saying something in the heat of the moment, but if you hurt your partner, you must be prepared to ask him/her for forgiveness and accept the consequences. The people that we love the most, are often the ones that we hurt the most. In many marriages, forgiveness is something that needs to happen often.
What is forgiveness?
Christianity, as well as many other religions, promotes forgiveness. It is a God-given instruction, but it’s one thing to say you forgive your partner and a completely different thing to truly forgive him or her. For example, it isn’t true forgiveness when you say that you can forgive, but not forget. If you can’t put something behind you, then you have not truly forgiven.
Forgiveness means freeing yourself from a range of negative emotions and energy. It’s about letting go of your bitterness, rage and frustration, and replacing it with a feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for your own blessings, talents and self-worth, as well as for the positive things that your partner contributes to your relationship. Forgiveness is the tool that you use to give you peace and takes a weight off your shoulders.
Why is forgiveness necessary?
Forgiveness makes you stronger. However, many women feel that forgiveness would make them weaker and more vulnerable. They are also scared that by forgiving their partner, their partner won’t understand how hurt they are and may transgress in the same way again in the future. However, trying to punish your partner isn’t the answer.
Mahatma Gandhi said: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
The inability to forgive can become a prison, says Dr Nicki P Anderson on www.nikianderson.com. If you can’t forgive your husband for the pain he has caused you, you won’t be able to forget about it, the wounds will get deeper and your rage and fear won’t subside.
Pride often stands in the way of true forgiveness. Although some women walk away from the marriage, they continue to feed their rage. This can increase their stress levels and lead to other psychological and physical problems.
If you continue holding on to your hurt, disappointments and rage, you are wasting your precious time and energy. Harbored hurt will lead to bitterness and hate, which in turn will lead to spiritual and physical ailments.
How do you forgive?
You have to practice forgiveness. There is no magical solution, but you have to free yourself from anything you are holding onto. This implies that the change needs to happen within you, but you also have to proactively change your thoughts and behavior. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend that nothing happened and that everything is normal, but you must realize that true forgiveness is a process that requires hard work and time.
If your partner has done something that requires your forgiveness, try the following:
- Call the transgression or hurt by its name. Say: “You went to a strip club, had a lap dance and lied to me about it. This hurt me a lot because it feels like you don’t respect me or the intimacy we share.” Ask questions such as: “What moral code did you break, what does this mean and what are the consequences?”
- Experience true healing. You may feel that you don’t want to revisit the painful situation, but if you try to avoid the healing and recovery that need to take place, it could lead to more pain and hurt. You need to admit, feel and experience the pain that you feel. Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel hurt because your partner broke your trust.
- Break the silence. It can benefit you to share the details of the transgression with a therapist, a trusted person or a legal advisor (depending on the nature of the transgression). To heal and to forgive requires that you admit that something is wrong and that someone is to blame.
- Prevent the situation from happening again. You need to do everything in your power to stop the transgression from taking place again. If the transgression entails your husband going to a strip club, you may feel that the situation is beyond your control. What you can do, is to tell your husband that you won’t tolerate this type of pain and hurt again, and that he will have to protect you from this pain and hurt in the future.
- Restore the balance in your relationship. The balance will be restored when the transgressor accepts the consequences of his or her actions. If your husband is addicted to Internet pornography, admits there is a problem and joins a support group, then he is accepting responsibility and trying to change. You can’t force him to change by withholding sex.
- Be honest and forgive. To receive the full benefits of forgiveness, you need to forgive your partner by saying it out loud. Be specific about what you are forgiving him for. Don’t say “I should forgive”, “I will forgive” or “I want to forgive”.
Remember that even though the Bible tells us to continue forgiving each other, it doesn’t mean that you should stay in a damaging or dangerous situation. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, but if you have been able to work through the forgiveness process and your partner continues to mistreat you, lie to you or cheat on you, it’s time to get professional help or even end the hurtful relationship. In this situation, the process of forgiveness will take even longer (www.marriage.about.com).