How to Forgive and Forget

Remember Ann Landers? She was the famous advice columnist who had a daily column in hundreds of newspapers from coast to coast. People sent her troubling personal problems. She gave advice, often quite good.

I will never forget something she said. Near the end of her long and illustrious career, she was interviewed by someone who asked her: After all your years of giving advice, if you could give people just one piece of advice-what would it be?

Being in the advice business myself, I could not wait to hear her response. She thought about it for a moment and then responded: "If I could give people just one piece of advice, it would be to be more forgiving." She had seen too many relationships and families destroyed by resentment, "unforgiveness," and grudges. She had seen too many people destroyed by bitterness and unhappiness, the result of not forgiving another.

Her advice: "Be more forgiving."

All I can say is "amen." If a person were to set out to ruin their own life, there would be no "better" way than through harboring resentment against others.

Resentment (hatred), you see, is a big trauma for a human being. We were never meant to hate. Resentment is a very big trauma. It forms a memory that sticks in your craw. Worse yet, resentment and hatred cut us off from our own good. We think we have a right to judge and resent. We think we can get away with resenting. But we only reap what we sow. When we exercise our right to hate another, we are doing a terrible thing.

It is unfair to the other person. It tempts them to hate us back. Being cut off from life devastates our own being. Many of us were abused, rejected, mistreated or traumatized when we were young. Our being was devastated, and some of us have never fully recovered. We went out in the world seeking love to fill the emptiness. We used people, food, substances and distractions. But none satisfied. When they did not, we felt betrayed, resented them, and then felt all the more empty.

Others of us were not really mistreated or abused and yet we too felt empty, loveless, and went out into the world looking for love. There we discovered abuse. Why is it that we become so empty and feel so unloved?

Why are we so needy that we grovel before others for a few crumbs of approval or settle for the most lowly and sometimes loathsome substitutes for love? It is not what others did to us. Nor is it because of what we were denied or thought we were denied. It is because we became resentful and hateful.

Resentment cuts us off from our connection to our inner ground of good within. Resentment cuts us off from the wellspring of good to which we have access when we are not resentful. It was our own resentment that hurt us more than anything. We feel empty and we then blame those who did something to us. But blame only reinforces and adds another layer of resentment.

Whether we blame others or turn the blame on ourselves, blame is a way of justifying our hate. All it does is keep us tied to bitter memories and cut off from the healing balm of love. Our need for human love is to fill the emptiness from not having inner wholeness and love. That is why what we call love often ends up in fighting and hurt feelings. What we call love is a substitute for the agape, emotionless love we all need. This agape love would correct our childish need for love. True love corrects us of our need for the love from others that does not fulfill. True love sets us free from our neediness. And when we no longer need love, we can give love. And when we found the love of the Father it would immunize us from hurting or being hurt by others. Therefore, I would like you to consider watching for resentment in yourself.

When you see it, stand back and let it pass. You will be glad you did. By learning to be patient with others, you will find the love welling up inside you. You will then be able to be patient with yourself too.

Therefore, dear ladies, forgive your father for not being there for you; and then do not resent your husband. If he is decent, then appreciate his good qualities. If he does not have the mysterious emotionless corrective love, then simply do not resent him. You will then be able to receive the love from within.

Husbands, do not look to your wives for love. Instead of looking for love, have love for others.

And if, through soul searching, yearning and seeking the wisdom you did not have, you should find an inner rapport with intuition and principle, you will then have the ground of being from which you will be able to share love with others. It will not be your love, but the love coming through you.






Roland Trujillo is Director of the Center For Common Sense Counseling and host of the popular Coach Roland internet radio show on Blogtalk Radio. Coach Roland offers solutions and tools for dealing with stress, letting go of baggage from the past, and healing relationships. Roland knows that resentment underlies many of our stress and relationships issues. Roland says: "Love is the answer, but to find love we must let go of resentment."

My Wife Asked for a Separation



This is an issue I hear more and more. I wrote a very popular article about what to do if your wife asks you to leave, and because I have been told by many men that they have found it helpful, I am using that that article as a foundation for this one.

So, here goes.
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Generally, for spiritual reasons, I recommend that you not be the one who initiates the separation.
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If the other person moves out or files for divorce, it is still a free country, as the expression goes. But if you make the first move, then you have the guilt of it. Generally divorce is not a good thing and a separation is often a softened way of making the contemplated divorce easier to get started. So initiating it puts a burden of guilt on you. This advice applies to both husband or wife.

There is the situation where the other person is drug addict, criminal, or abusive person. Of course, you have to protect yourself and the children. You might have to get the help of the authorities. If your wife is a drug addict, abusive or a criminal, then were she to leave, as long as you get the kids, it could be a blessing. If she takes the kids then that is not good at all. 

If you are a good guy, but you are getting over some issues you have not quite put completely behind you, then the separation could be good, if she is giving you a chance to clean up your act.


But in this post, I'm addressing the more typical situation where both husband and wife are decent, good people.
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When both are good people, it is best not to separate. It is best to stay together and work things out.

The statistics show that when there is a separation, in the majority of cases it leads to divorce. Or it leads to a a permanent separation where they never get back together again.

Most people who separate do not get back together again.

So, do you want a divorce? If not, you can see that (with exceptions) separation means that the marriage will be over. So you are better off staying together, working things out, and that way you have the best chance of salvaging the marriage.

If there are kids, that is all the more reason why you should seek to remain together under one roof. If one of you moves out, most of the time the kids end up with the mom. You will be out of their life, except for weekly visits or occasional two weeks at your place in the summer. You will be not there for them every day any more. Your influence over what goes on will become nil. But undoubtedly you will be paying alimony and child support.

Remember, all of this is predicated and based on your being a decent good guy. Clean, sober, faithful, working, honest, kind, and honorable.

So if you--with all your heart--want to work things out, be there for the kids and avoid divorce, then don't be the one to leave.

Do what you can to make your home happy.  You should be able to be calm and not argue. If you, for some reason, you don't have a job, get one right away even if it is not perfect. Dress nicely, act politely, take out the garbage, make repairs around the home, help the kids with their homework. Cook dinner sometimes, care for the kids, and don't say anything mean about her family or friends. This is strategy, but it has to be sincere, for a long term benefit to all--to really and truly work things out and one day celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary with loving kids and grand kids attending. Okay?

So if there was ever a time for you to give it your best, now is the time. Giving it your all in a basketball game is useless. Give it your all for the sake of your wife and kids. Giving it your all, demonstrating virtue, forbearance, long suffering, grace under fire, honor, gentleness, courage, and a steady hand will be for a good cause--to save you marriage and to be there for your kids. Get your ego out of the way and do your duty. Please, no begging or emotional displays. Exercise self control and discipline.

You are a man, no longer a child. If you wife is confused, then you must be calm, reasonable, and wise. If your wife is unhappy or upset, that is all the more reason for you to stay by her side. 

Remember, just because she says something does not mean that she really means it in her heart of hearts. And even if she does mean it, it might be better to be strategically hard of hearing and just go about your business. She might change her mind.


But if the other side is determined to move out or divorce, let them be the first to make the fateful move. You will then know that you did not initiate it and won't have that hanging around your neck as the years go by.

If the other person does not want to divorce, but just needs some space, because you are both irritating each other and arguing a lot and making things worse, then maybe a separation is not a bad idea. You can have some space and maybe at the same time go to counseling together. You can have some space and see each other for a date, and hopefully rekindle your love.

But just remember, the statistics speak for themselves. Separation usually leads to divorce.  Separate bedrooms is much better than separation.

Are there any cooler heads that might prevail--like a pastor's wife, or a wise aunt or uncle, someone in her family who is not against you and who sees the wisdom of staying together and patching things up? If there is someone like that, then get your ego out of the way and ask for help. Remember--you are seeking to do the right thing for all.  With reason, calmness and wisdom, you are seeing to weather the storm.


Now a special word for men:

I cannot advise about any legal issues. Also, every circumstance is different, but I can speak in generalities. For spiritual, emotional, and strategic reasons it is not good for the husband to leave first.

Why is it generally not good for the husband to leave first?

In the mind of the wife, he made the first move and left her. She may have teased him and tempted him to leave first (secretly in her heart of hearts she may have hoped he would not leave her), but, after all, he did not have to leave. But he did. She may have even asked him to leave, but people say a lot of things when they are angry. Sometimes they are later sorry it was said--but if you threw some items in your suitcase or duffel bag and slammed the door leaving her and the kids behind--you made a big strategic mistake.

When the man leaves, it means that he walked out. Worse yet, in the eyes of the children, it means that father left them. Roberto Duran, though one of the greatest boxers in history, will never live down being a quitter when he said "no mas" in his fight against Sugar Ray Leonard. A dad who leaves has made a bad move. His family will never forget that he moved out on them.

The wife has the advantage now in every respect. She did not leave him. He moved out on her and left the kids.

You see, husband (and father) has a very special role. He holds a station in life. He holds the office of husband and if there are kids, the office of father.

In the eyes of children, father stands in for God. Can you see why it is so devastating when a father fails?

Husband and father is supposed to be like the George Washington or Moses of the family. He stands for what is right. He cannot have any vices. He must be principled, honorable, wise, patient, long suffering, and kind.
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He has to be as steady as the ticking of a grandfather clock in a thunderstorm. If others fail him, he does not fail them. If others become upset, he remains calm and reasonable.

In my book Putting the Forever Back in Love, I have a chapter entitled Coach Roland Talks to Dads. I advise husbands and dads to stay the course. If the wife creates an emotional scene, asks him to leave, threatens divorce and so on - he should just sit in the living room, if need be, and watch television. Let the storm pass. Don't go even go to the gym. Just sit there and let the storm pass. When it does, everyone will be glad that you were steady, calm, and did not over-react. 

Most dads are a little weak. They say the right things, but say them too weakly. He must not be there to win a popularity contest. He has to stand for what is right and persist even in the face of rebellion. But he must not be angry. He must always have a twinkle in his eye.

Many men clam up, but are angry and resentful underneath. When they do finally speak up, their message is tainted and ruined by the pent up anger. Feeling guilty, he may clam up again or sit on the sidelines while the family goes to ruin.

.A man simply can't avoid his duty without harming the family. That is why he must learn to stand for what is right with patience and firmness and kindness.

He has to be there for his wife and children. They need a very special love from him: emotionless agape love. A man cannot have this love if he is selfish or unprincipled. Nor can he have this love for them if he is a womanizer or tries to make his wife into his mother. He must not look for ego support from the world. He must look within and find a bond with what he knows in his heart.

He will then not need love. He will give love. He must love principle more than anything, even his wife.
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But if you think about it for a moment, you will see that this is the man she can trust. She knows he will always be there for her and she knows he will never be unfaithful (because he does not need the love of a woman, a drug, or some worldly support). This is the man she can respect and perhaps even love.

Now, gentlemen, most wives are aware of their husband's weaknesses before they get married, but she hopes that he will become the noble knight she needs. And once within the confines of marriage, the nobly inclined man will become aware of his failing her in some mysterious way.
.He will search his heart and out of true love for her and the children, he will see what they need from him. He will learn to be less selfish, and eventually one day, unselfish. He will begin to fail less, and one day not fail at all.

She will see his nobility, his heart felt efforts, and his love of principle. With this man, there is hope.

Of course, there are some women who will not take kindly to his new inner authority, and she will most likely resent him even when he is right. If she is a permanent hater, then she will make his life as miserable as possible. If he remains noble, she will probably go off to find someone else. If this happens, so be it.

But you cannot know what is in your wife's heart until you straighten up and fly right. Only then might your noble love draw forth the good in her.
.Many women have been so used and unloved that they cannot imagine or believe that a man can be noble. She may test him and give him a hard time for years (or decades). If he is tested and not found wanting, he will win her heart. They will become very good friends and live happily ever after.

As I said, most men are weak (or weak and violent). Their weakness literally tempts the wife and kids to rebel. So if you have been weak or selfish, before looking at other's wrong, first look at your own. See your part in what has gone wrong and repent of it.

Many wives had a father who was not there for her. She resented him and went out in the world looking for love. What she got was use and abuse at the hands of boyfriends. Since all men failed her, she expects that her husband will too (though a good woman will hope her husband won't fail her).

Perhaps you can see why the man needs to have the wisdom of Solomon and perfect self control. All men have failed, but that is not an excuse for more failing. You must find the way to fail less.
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I cannot say what to do in any particular circumstance. There are just too many particular situations. But I can speak in general terms.
.Generally divorce is not a good thing. Sometimes a separation may be of some help, so that both sides can find themselves and get their bearings, but maybe not.
.Please note that my comments are directed to the typical situation where both are good people, not perfect of course, but decent. If your spouse is extremely disturbed, violent or criminal, you will need to protect the children and get professional help and assistance from the authorities.
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If there is a divorce, it is best not to begin the process yourself. If your wife divorces you, you will then not be guilty for having begun it.

If you have only been married for a short time, things might be worked out, but if there is not true marriage, then going your separate ways may be best.

But when there are children, everything changes. Now the man is both husband and father.

I recently heard a man tell about his father who he loved deeply. His mom was not a nice lady and she made a lot of trouble. He stayed there for the children and was a good father to them. He suffered for decades, but never hated his wife and never complained. The children loved him dearly.

You see, the children were aware of his suffering. They saw his sacrifice and nobility. And they loved him all the more. It didn't matter what mom did. Father was there for them.

But if he had walked out on her and them, what would be foremost in their minds would not be what mom did, but what he did. He would have quit on them. Thank God he did not.
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Dear Sir,
I know that marriage can be a severe test. But just as there can be no courage without danger, so likewise there can be no character without a test of that character. A final word. Sometimes we do the right thing by simply not doing the wrong thing. Someone can tempt you to do something wrong or foolish. Just don't do it and you are safe. Always do what you know is right in your heart.

I've always told men--if you have an argument with your wife--whatever you do, don't walk out. Walking out means something to a woman. Just go sit in the living room and watch television or read a book. Let the storm blow over.




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