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Practicing forgiveness to sustain healthy relationships

forgiveA recent piece from Stanford's BeWell program focuses on an aspect of health you don't address at the gym, cafeteria or doctor's office, but instead with loved ones. In a Q&A, Fred Luskin, PhD, the director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, explains why he believes practicing forgiveness from the start of a partnership is key to finding success in it for the long term.

From the Q&A:

What do we all need to better understand as we strive to improve our relationships?

Whether you are at the beginning of your relationship, the middle, or struggling at the end, you will need to realize that your partner is a flawed human being with difficult traits, and, if you want to be successful in love you need to learn how to forgive those flaws. Practicing forgiveness as early as possible will give you and your partner the best chance to make your relationship a lasting and healthy one.

According to surprising research, couples who do not acknowledge each others’ flaws at the very beginning of their relationship have a hard time staying together. We’ve all met the new couples who constantly gush about how perfect their partner is, and how lucky they are to have found each other. The positive and loving feelings are healthy and good, as long as you are aware and accept that your partner will have traits that can drive you crazy (when the endorphin high starts to wear off, that is). Couples who are able to see each other clearly and realistically from the beginning end up with a stronger love that stands the test of time.

Luskin teaches workshops through Stanford's BeWell and HIP programs.

Previously: A conversation with Stanford psychologist Fred Luskin on forgiveness and its health benefitsTeaching children the importance of forgivenessStanford psychologist Fred Luskin taking questions on the health benefits of forgiving and Stanford class teaches students how to live a happier, healthier life
Photo by Tela Chhe

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