MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Missouri S&T     ●    St. Louis


Feature Article


Forgiveness an important part of all relationships

Nina Chen, Ph.D., CFLE, Human Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension


Healthy relationships take time, effort, patience and energy to build. It’s not always easy, but forgiveness is an important part of relationships. Learning to forgive and asking for forgiveness helps keep relationships healthy by allowing them to heal and grow.


Forgiveness is a process to help people release pain and anger, and feel stronger and less vulnerable to others. Forgiveness does not mean outrageous behavior should be tolerated or that responsibility for bad behavior should be denied. It also isn’t about forgetting or agreeing with someone’s behavior, but it gives people the chance to break the cycle of hate and resentment, and provides opportunities to bring peace of mind and help move forward.


To forgive takes a decision, time and effort. Practicing forgiveness is a foundation of strong and happy relationships. Several studies have shown the benefits of forgiveness — it is linked to lower blood pressure, improved health and higher life satisfaction.


Some problems may not be solved because people see situations differently. Problems should be discussed when both people feel peaceful and have the time to work on issues. Here are some tips:


  • Discuss one issue at a time.
  • Be open and patient.
  • Show respect.
  • Accept apologies and commitment to change from the offender.
  • Ask for forgiveness when you are the offender and commit to make positive changes.



Markman, H. J., Stanley, S. M., and Blumberg, S. L. 2001. Fighting for your marriage. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass: A Wiley Company.


Piderman, K. 2009. Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness. (accessed May 3, 2010).


University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri

Last Updated 02/23/2011