You Made the Choice

The man or woman walking beside you is there for one simple reason — out of all the people out there, you chose this person as your partner, faults and all.  You chose to join with this person and try to make a life together.  The fact that your partner is with you only because you made a decision to invite him or her to join you is the simplest reason to be more forgiving of this person.  Your decision to choose this partner also implies that you continue to be able to choose how much effort you will make toward sustaining a loving relationship with him or her.  It is your positive exercise of choice that will be at the heart of a successful long-term relationship….

Forgiveness allows you to continue to be kind and to honor your choice even when your partner’s conduct has been poor.  It allows you to love your partner in ways that accept his or her flawed humanness.  Continuing to accept that we made a choice when we picked our lover is an ongoing affirmation that is essential in creating a successful relationship….

When we choose our mate, we select one specific person with whom to try to do our absolute best.  We promise that person that we will try to be as kind and loving as possible, and that we will practice loyalty and offer solace as needed.  We also promise to forgive our partner when we can for his or her flaws, weaknesses, silly habits, or selfishness.

To forgive, you need to understand that everything that has happened in your relationship came about because of your willing decision to join with your partner….  In this forgiveness step, you take responsibility for your decision, and once you do that, there is no one to blame when things go wrong.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 81-87

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