Is forgiveness in marriage desirable?
A study shows that forgiveness in marriage is likely to lead to negative behaviours being repeated.
135 newlyweds were told to keep daily diaries showing how they interacted with each other. They were supposed to record the “negative” things did by their partners. Those who forgave their spouses were twice as likely to report the “misbehaviour” on the following day as they held a grudge.
Associate Professor of Psychology James McNulty said that “forgiveness allows relatively negative partners to continue their negative behaviours, ultimately harming the relationship”.
Well, does this suggest that you should never forgive your spouse?
No. Apparently people should “confront negative behaviours and deal with the” motivations behind them before forgiveness.
See: “Forgiveness Is NOT the Key to a Happy Marriage- It Actually Makes It Worse”, Reader’s Digest
From my practice as a family lawyer, I rarely see couples who come to me without first attempting forgiveness in marriage.
Not too long ago, I had a client who came to me after catching her spouse committing adultery for the second time.
I remember vividly that she told me everybody deserves a second chance. She gave her ex-husband a second chance after finding out about his affair on his phone.
When it happened for the second time, she decided that enough was enough and called it quits.
From my point of view, she was right. What she should have done though, is to have a marital agreement drawn up to protect her interests after finding out about her husband’s adultery for the first time.
A marital agreement is like a contract between husband and wife. It can protect the rights of both parties if the relationship were to sour. For instance, we can have a clause giving one party the prerogative to file for divorce on an uncontested basis under certain scenarios.
Forgiveness in marriage may be necessary to keep the marriage going. It may however be wise to have your interests protected.
Contact us today if you need more information on marital agreements in Singapore.