How to Forgive Your Husband When It’s Hard

how to forgive your husband

Alan admitted to his wife he was wrong. He took steps to make it right as much as was possible. He sincerely asked for her forgiveness. He even gave her a pass to be angry and withdrawn for a considerable period of time, figuring that he deserved it.

But when four months turned into six, and then nine…it became clear that forgiveness and restoration were no closer at hand than they had been on day one. Alan was emotionally exhausted, and his remorse was giving way to frustration.

Whether it’s a stereotype or truth, women are known for remembering everything and quoting often to our husbands from the figurative “Book of Blame.” And while many times our anger or sadness is justified, holding onto it forever isn’t. Even when the mistakes our spouses make are significant, forgiveness is essential if our marriages are to survive. {Tweet This} Learn more about How to Forgive Your Husband When It’s Hard, and free your family from the burden of perpetual conflict.

1. Remember that you will need forgiveness one day too.

When one spouse stumbles in a major way, you may feel like there’s nothing you could ever do that would be as bad. None of us is perfect, and you have no idea what challenges and temptations await you in the future. One day the tables may be turned, and it could be you who needs understanding and restoration. Give your spouse the same amount of grace that you would want extended to you if you’d made a mistake for which you were truly remorseful.

2. Acknowledge that forgiveness is a decision—not a feeling.

If you’re waiting for all of the hurt of the wrong to complete dissolve before you pronounce your spouse “forgiven” and try to move forward, you may be waiting a long, long time. You can forgive your spouse while your heart and mind are still sorting out what to do with the anger and resentment that may be lingering. Often making the decision to forgive is the very thing needed to spur you on toward letting go of the negative feelings.

3. Do the hard work of forgiving.

It may seem unfair that you, the one who has been wronged, should have to do anything to repair the relationship. You didn’t tear it up, right? But only you can unpack and discard the feelings and emotional garbage that the incident brought into your life. If that means talking to a counselor or pastor, and spending more time praying and meditating in order to find peace, it’s an investment worth making. And only you can make it.

4. Be objective enough to learn something from what happened.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. In other words, everything has some contributing factors or circumstances that started the dominos tumbling. Rather than putting all of your focus and energy on your spouse’s mistake, look around and ask what might have opened the door for it. Sometimes in doing this, we learn that we, too, played a part in the poor choices of those we love. By acknowledging any ways in which you may have contributed to the problem, you’re not excusing your husband’s mistake, but you are owning your part of it, and that is a step in the right direction.

5. Remember that even the remorseful have a breaking point.

Is harboring your anger and your right to have the “upper hand” in your relationship important enough to you to lose the relationship over? Because your unforgiving spirit may turn out to be the thing that sinks the ship of your marriage. We understand that forgiveness is a process, and healing from major hurts does take time and work on both parts. But at some point, the game changes. Your spouse is no longer the one in the wrong for what he did; you are in the wrong for your refusal to forgive.

Let’s Talk: Have you ever found it difficult to forgive your husband? How did you get past it?


  • CW

    My husband has had many affairs in our marriage. I have spent 13 years being angry, bitter and resentful. I have walled my heart up so well that nothing gets to me. I’m mean and hateful to him just to keep myself on guard in case he is unfaithful again. But somewhere deep inside of me is the wife that I want to be. The wife I want my daughter to see. I desperately want to forgive and move on, but im so fearful of the hurt that might lie ahead. This is where my faith and trust in God comes in. So now I working on developing that trust instead of all my energy on being angry at my husband.

    • Candice

      Hi CW, I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and will continue to pray for you. Please know that you are not the only one struggling with feelings of bitterness after multiple affairs. God tells us to forgive and we must have faith that his plan will be done. If he has held your family together this long, he will continue to give you the strength to hold onto your marriage. Put God in the center of your marriage and he will restore.

  • Unforgivable

    About seven years ago I emailed an old female friend who was in the news and my wife went ballistic. I was sorry and asked and received forgiveness.

    Or so I thought.

    So here I am today: five or six years of zero sex, I’ve slept on the couch for the past four years, during this time my wife refuses to go on dates telling me she is too busy, while continually brings up my past screwups in arguments.

    Now I’m out of the house sleeping in my van, living my life to see my boys on the weekend while trying to release my anger and bitterness. I know I made poor choices, so I guess this is my punishment? Yeah, this is a fun place to be.

    So ladies. If you say you forgive someone, please really mean it. Don’t dangle the carrot of false hope hanging on a stick we will never reach. Don’t let your bitterness contribute toward the deterioration of your marriage.

  • stephanie marie

    I too am harboring feelings for a long time due to him being unfaithful. but in our situation he gets FURIOUS if I look at his phone and I am called everything but a white woman, all sorts of threats are made. whats the big deal, you were unfaithful so every now and then I check up on you to see if there are any current issues. you see mine has always been a flirt and after being with him for a few months( I was pregnant at this point) I realized he loves getting girls numbers and texting them, flirting, telling them since he cant have them he has a brother…blah blah blah…….so the issue is im working on trust but I just cant help but to check up on him and his phone (he deletes most everything anyway) that really we have a whole blow up because I looked in your phone. he tells me its my fault and if he wants to sleep with a woman there is nothing I can do about it. he says nothing to reinforce his love for me or anything, just that he has changed but yet I haven’t and I keep disrespecting him by looking in his phone. however every time I look there is a new females number and then when I ready him and his brothers text he told his brother “Speaking for myself I have to cut back on my P bill to have extra money) ok so how am I suppose to get over it when I keep finding things?! when I confront him he tells me that’s his phone and he can text and talk to whoever and however he likes…….I don’t see any hope for this. also we are not married but engaged but I told him I don’t want to get married but we have been together for 5 years and have a child and I have really tried to make it work. i know there are things i need to work on but this is a big one and i do not think im in the wrong? can anyone help me here?

    • kurt

      I wish I knew where to start but, here goes. First off, you are not wrong in feeling hurt. His actions give no reason to trust him let alone forgive him. Second, I think that you are on the right track with you just trying to forgive him. He makes it hard but you do try. So you deserve credit for being the bigger person by trying to level with him. The last thing is TRUST! Trust is first given and then when lost, it is EARNED! the question you have to ask yourself is, “Does he deserve it!? Remember the answer is in the question itself. Has he deserved your foregiveness? I truly hope that you can find peace when you come to the conclusion! We all deserve to be happy in the end, and if we try and yet we are still not there, we have to assess our choices and weigh the options so we can find the path to what will ultimately lead to the attainment of that goal.

  • charlene

    Iforgive.the more he continue to do more stuff to cause pain and hurt .so what the use leave him alone.if am trying and all he is doing blaming constantly for what ididnot do all because he betrayed the marriage betrayed.walk away from him and let go of it until he can admit to his wrongs .I have to let go .and let god deal with this matter.