How to Heal the Pain

Are you tired of feeling hurt all the time? Do you feel as if the sadness and anger is tearing you up inside? Do you want to stop the pain but don’t know how?

Get Past the Pain By Learning to Forgive

To begin a discussion on Forgiveness, we must first understand and acknowledge that many of you feel hurt and angry, scared and/or confused and have felt that way for a long time. It is vital, however, to recognize that your partner feels the same way. Though you may feel like you are the wronged party, I can all but guarantee that they feel the same. Consequently, before we can even begin to work on the relationship, we must first forgive our partners and ourselves for the state of the relationship we find ourselves in today. Let me say that again: regardless of who made which mistakes, who is right or wrong – both of you are equally responsible for the relationship as it exists today. Recognizing this and then moving on, is the first step in beginning to heal.

Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to forgive because it feels as if to forgive is to condone a behavior. It is not. It is simply an understanding that there may have been painful circumstances or suffering that contributed to that person’s actions. In other words, it is understanding that the angry party’s feelings have less to do with the person they are yelling at and more to do with what that individual is feeling themselves. This can make it easier to choose to pardon the behavior. Having an understanding of and compassion for what drove the person to their transgression can go a long way toward helping one forgive.

When we refuse to forgive, we keep the past alive in our thoughts. These thoughts can be so vivid that we feel as if the pain is re-occurring over and over in the present moment. But in the end, who does that hurt? By repeatedly focusing on the pain from a past experience, you continue to relive it and often times expand upon it. Not only do you allow the pain from the past to continue to damage the relationship, you choose to let it repeatedly damage you.

Actress and comedienne, Lily Tomlin, said simply:

“Forgiveness means giving
up all hope of a better past.”

Notice that the decision to forgive is not contingent on an apology, or even on a promise to never do it again. It is simply a decision to let go of the past and focus on the future.

People sometimes struggle with this because they’re waiting for a guarantee that the behavior will never happen again before they’re willing to forgive. Unfortunately, as none of us are fortune-tellers, we cannot predict the future and therefore, cannot offer this guarantee. Forgiveness is simply a willingness to let go of the past and move forward.

Finally, I want to end with one of the most important Golden Rules of Marriage

You must give in your marriage
what you want to receive.

If you want to be trusted, you must trust. If you want kindness, you must be kind. If you want to be forgiven, you must forgive. And most importantly, if you want to be loved, you must give love.

For more information on the Golden Rule of Marriage, check out What the Beatles Knew About Marriage.

To learn more about Forgiveness using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.

Are you having trouble forgiving? How can we help? Please comment below.

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

We Offer The Best Couples Therapy Here. Visit

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jenny 13 years ago

I have been through a harrowing experience a year and a half ago and till date find it very difficult to forgive my husband who has betrayed my trust. What is more hurtful is that through it all he says he never wanted to leave me and even blamed me partly for the situation. Though he is doing everything to make up for the hurt he has caused me, i just cannot forget what he has done to our marriage. He has promised to keep me happy and is doing everything he can to keep me happy. But i still keep thinking every single day about what he has done to me and keep asking God why did this happen to me when everything was going very smoothly in our marriage, or so i thought. I am still with him though i wanted to leave him in the beginning because for one thing we have been together for 20 years in our marriage and have a 19 year old son too. I still keep asking myself should i leave or stay. I know he loves me a lot but then why did he allow someone to come between us. I cant let go of the past and it hurts me the same even today after 1 and half years. I am afraid to trust him again and always keep doubting his actions. I am 50 years old and find it difficult to make up my mind to leave him as i have spent 20 years of my life with him and the leave is frightening. At the same time i cant forget what has happened. What do i do? How do i know he is not just pretending to make me happy again?

amybarnhartsd 13 years ago

Thanks for sharing your situation Jenny. As you may have heard from Dr. Dana already, almost all marriages can be saved. Have you seen this article where Dr. Dana answers questions about Can Your Marriage be Saved? There's another article that I think may help you decide what to do in your situation. So many people mistakenly believe that their marriage is over after an affair but that doesn't have to be true. In this article Dr. Dana answers the question: "My spouse cheated, Is My Marriage Over?" I highly recommend you invest in learning the Marriage Success Skills we teach in our StrongMarriageNow System. As painful as your situation is, starting over after a divorce isn't easy either.

Sil 13 years ago

HellO Jenny, I can understand your disability to trust so very well, you have no idea. I am suffering from a big disappointment and wonder whether there is a future for my husband and myself. I guess what both of us have to do is asking ourselves what we want from life and whether we want our partners to be part of it anymore. Once we are certain of what we want we can maybe work better for our future with or without our men. I usually ask God to help me find out whats best for me. If you have still hope that it works, then there is a chance you can make it. I know whether you forgive or not, there will never be the same trust as before. But that might be your strength to make it even, if that sounds strange.

amybarnhartsd 13 years ago

Thanks for sharing Sil. It's so great that you're supporting Jenny as well. I wanted to share a concept from Dr. Fillmore that might help you both think about this painful situation. You mentioned that the trust will never be the same again. Dr. Fillmore shares that the weakened state of the marriage made it vulnerable to an affair and that both spouses are responsible for keeping the marriage healthy and strong. While the trust will never be the same again, if you build a new marriage together and work together to get past the situation, your marriage can actually be stronger and better than ever. She elaborates a lot more on this concept in the article "My spouse cheated, Is My Marriage Over? if you'd like to read more. Let me know if that information helps you...

Lawrence Bright 13 years ago

What a fantastic collection of great posts in your site. I hope I can produce something of that quality one day Congratulations!!. I’ve been looking for this information in many sites related to this subject thank god I found your blog! Thanks!

jenny 13 years ago

Great site Great support. keep up the good work.