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 Marriages that are likely to succeed in the 21st Century and beyond are those which have embraced forgiveness in their daily living. We have touched on this important subject in articles past and anchored the truth that forgiveness is a gift you can give to your spouse and that it is not a sign of weakness. Instead it is strength because it shows you are capable of goodwill toward your partner.

This is not to imply that forgiveness is easy but it does present a doorway to liberty from hurt, anger, bitterness and resentment. Importantly here, is the awareness that you are capable of being wounded and wounding others. Regardless of the scale of the offence, forgiveness can help rid husbands and wives of toxic hurt and shame that hold them back from feeling connected to each other. Undoubtedly, forgiving each other is a big part of marriage because you will hurt and disappoint each other - it is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.


I wish to reflect with you a speech delivered by Pope Francis on September 22, 2015, World Communications Day, advising families in Cuba on the importance of forgiveness in marriage. Because of the length of the speech I decided to pick this summary of the same done by Christine Katende, which embodies the essence of the speech without going into much detail. 

“There is no perfect family. We do not have perfect parents - you are not perfect yourself. We do not marry a perfect person or we do not have perfect children. We have complaints from each other. We cannot live together without offending one another. We are constantly disappointed. Yes, for so many reasons at different times we are disappointed by one another.

“There is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the medicine of family joy and happiness. Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival, no matter the offence or who is the offender. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict and a fortress of evil.


Without forgiveness, the family becomes sick and unhealthy. Forgiveness is the asepsis of the soul, the purification of the spirit and the liberation of the heart. No sin is too big to be forgiven. He who does not forgive does not have peace in his soul or and cannot have communion with God. Unforgiving is evil and a poison that intoxicates and kills the one who refuses to forgive.

Keeping heartache of unforgiving in your heart is a self-destructive gesture. It’s autophagy. Those who do not forgive are physically, emotionally and spiritually ill. And they will suffer in two ways. For this reason, the family must be a place of life and not a place of death; a place of forgiveness, a place of paradise and not a place of hell; a healing territory and not a disease; an internship of forgiveness and not guilt.

“Forgiveness brings joy where sorrow has brought sadness; healing where sorrow has caused the disease. A family is a place of support and not of gossip and slander of one another. It must be a place of welcome not a place of rejection. Shame to those who plant evil about others. We are family and not enemies. When anyone is going through a challenge all they need is support.”

In this summary of the speech by Pope Francis, there is so much that you and I can glean from the truths on forgiveness and not forgiving that the Pope eloquently enumerates. Both the offender and victim have a duty towards forgiveness - one needs to seek forgiveness and the other offer forgiveness. Not forgiving can be a load on the family, it can cause a toxic environment for both spouses.

Today, many are diagnosed with depression and other stress-related illnesses but they are unwilling to forgive. The Pope uses stronger words by saying not forgiving is evil and poisonous to the one unwilling to forgive. I am by no means trying to trivialize your hurt and disappointment, nor am I condoning the unjust act towards you. However, if one has been bitten by a venomous snake, all that is important is to get an anti-venom and flush the poison out of the body - that is what forgiveness does.


No amount of revenge can get the poison out, instead the longer you wait, the more toxic your condition becomes. Even if you can catch the snake, cut it into pieces or set it on fire, unless and until you deal with the poison in your body, you will die.

My prayer and wish is that we all learn to forgive each other especially as husbands and wives; by doing so we model and school our children on patience and tolerance.

In our world today, if we happen to disagree, we then view each other as enemies - it should not be the case, we can have unity in our diversity and differences. In fact, we have more in common than the disagreement we might have.

Forgiveness is therapy to our emotional wounds and can help diffuse generational family feuds. My plea to all emaSwati is let us learn the art of living in harmony with each other, particularly married people - forgiveness! Let us enter 2020 grudge free. Send comments to adminsec@mbac.co.sz

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