Whether your parents committed a minor infraction or a major one, the inability or unwillingness to forgive them can have serious consequences. Holding a grudge against them will impact your marriage. Even if you don’t talk to your parents, your anger toward them still plays a bigger role in your life than you’d like to think. Whether you hold a grudge from childhood or your angry about something your mother did last week, learning how to forgive is important.
In order for a marriage to be healthy, there needs to be a healthy separation between the couple and their parents. This means that you can make decisions independently from your parents, don’t rely on them for your emotional or financial support, and can side with your partner against your parents if necessary.
However, when people hold a grudge against their parents, this prevents them from truly separating in a healthy way. Holding onto hurt and anger actually keeps you connected. Just like a couple who gets divorced yet spends years hating one another, you can’t let go if you are still holding on to those feelings.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. If your parents did horrible things to you, you obviously will never forget it. If your parents are not safe people, forgiving doesn’t mean you will choose to spend time with them or let them be around your children.
Instead, forgiveness means you can come to a peaceful place of acceptance. It allows you to have realistic expectations of who your parents are and what they are able to do. If your parents weren’t exactly nominated for parent of the year, don’t expect them to win any grandparent awards either. However, with a realistic expectation, you may come to accept the role they’ll play in your life and your child’s life.
Resolving resentment can set you free. It can help free up your heart, thoughts, and energy. It can allow you to devote more time, love and energy to your marriage. If you are having difficulty letting go of your anger, consider seeking therapy. Counseling can help you resolve unresolved anger and grief.