Marriage Counseling Fort Myers FL – To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

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Marriage Counseling Fort Myers FL – To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

To Forgive or Not to Forgive?  Marriage Counseling Fort Myers FL points out that in the book, “Helping Clients Forgive,” Enright and Fitzgibbons defined forgiveness in the following way: “People, upon rationally determining that they have been unfairly treated, forgive when they willfully abandon resentment and related responses (to which they have a right), and endeavor to respond to the wrongdoer based on the moral principle of beneficence, which may include compassion, unconditional worth, generosity, and moral love (to which the wrongdoer, by nature of the hurtful act or acts, has no right).”  [Enright, R. D., Fitzgibbons, R. P. (2000). Helping clients forgive: An empirical guide for resolving anger. New York: American Psychological Association].  If you are having difficulty forgiving your spouse, Marriage Counseling Fort Myers FL can help.

Psychology Tools, a website for therapists, summarized other parts of the book which discussed what forgiveness is not.  Forgiveness is not…

  • Pardon, legal mercy or leniency
  • Condoning or excusing
  • Reconciliation (you can come together again, but still not forgive)
  • Justification (you can forgive, but don’t have to believe their action was fair)
  • Forgetting (forgetting would leave you vulnerable to the offence again)
  • Balancing scales (getting back at someone is not the same as forgiving)
  • Letting time heal the wound (forgiving is active rather than passive)
  • Abandoning resentment (we might let go of resentment but still not forgive
  • Possessing positive feelings (we might feel positive towards an individual, but still not forgiven them)
  • Saying “I forgive you” (you can forgive without using specific words)
  • Making a decision  to forgive (it can involve a decision, but forgiveness is a process which takes time)
  • A quick fix (forgiveness takes time, and progress may fluctuate)
  • Accepting what happened (we could accept the facts of an event but not forgive, accepting  may be a part of forgiveness but not all acceptance is forgiveness)
  • Moving on (we may decide to move on without looking back, and without forgiving)
  • Accepting what happened knowing that God will punish them (this approach focuses more on justice than forgiveness)
  • Saying “I have the satisfaction of not letting the person get to me”
  • “Letting the other person know how much they owe me” (this is a form of revenge,  and is using the misdeed/transgression as a weapon)

Marriage Counseling Fort Myers FL readily understands the pain of being treated unfairly and the struggle to forgive.  Forgiveness cannot be coerced.  It must be given freely if it is given at all.  Counselors from Marriage Counseling Estero would agree.

If you need help with your marriage and you live in Southwest Florida (Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, and Estero FL), Dr. Ken Newberger, Ph.D., Conflict Analysis and Resolution can help.  View the outline to his process, a cutting-edge alternative to traditional marriage counseling at  Or call him directly at: 239-689-4266.

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