Forgiveness is talked about a lot, especially in many religions. We are asked to forgive others who hurt us. Admittedly, that can be a challenge, especially when those who hurt cause lasting damage. In a case like this, forgiveness sometimes comes with dropping a person who hurts you altogether.

We don’t always think about forgiveness when it comes to a significant other. Assuming that your partner hasn’t been toxic or abusive, forgiveness is how you get past a wrong and heal as a couple.

Create a foundation

When you partner with a matchmaker, you don’t always go in thinking about being hurt. But we all make mistakes. Those mistakes will inevitably impact our romantic partners, too. While forgiveness is important, it doesn’t and shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. You can’t be expected to forgive someone, and they shouldn’t be expected to forgive you, if there is not a solid foundation in place. A solid foundation means one built on trust, one where forgiveness actually means something to the other person. Forgiveness can only exist when there is love in a relationship.

Make it right

Forgiveness isn’t just like washing your hands after they get dirty. You need to tackle the actual reason why your hands got dirty in the first place. Maybe that means cleaning up the mess you made, or in the case of forgiveness, figure out why it was that you hurt your partner.

Maybe you were stressed and lashed out at your significant other. While it’s okay to be stressed, if your partner was hurt by your words, find a way to make it right. Work on the way you handle your stress, or maybe even tackle the source of your stress in the first place.

Don’t create a loop

Forgiveness should not be used as an excuse to keep doing things that hurt your partner. Because that’s not forgiveness. That’s manipulation, and it’s not grounded in love. If your partner forgives you for hurting you, and then you just do the same thing next week, you’ve created a loop that isn’t fair for you or your partner.

Instead, forgiveness should come with the understanding that the person being forgiven is going to do what they can to change. They are ending the loop so that the harm and sadness they caused does not continue.

Earn that forgiveness

Forgiveness does not end when you are simply “forgiven.” Forgiveness is active and steady. You earn forgiveness every day that you work to right your wrong. When you wake up in the morning, think about how you can work toward doing right by your partner.

If work causes you stress, and you have taken some of that stress out on your partner, earning forgiveness might mean talking to your boss about a way to make your job less stressful, or practicing meditation as a way to deal with stress. It might even mean finding a different job if that stress is creating a strain on your relationship.

Forgiveness isn’t about ignoring the harm someone causes, but about righting wrongs.

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