I am in a relationship with a man who is constantly criticizing me. No matter how much I tell him that this is hurtful, he keeps at it. He does apologize and talks of his temper that he has modeled after his father. How many times do I have to forgive him? It is getting very wearying to keep forgiving him every day.

I am sorry that you are having to endure this criticism. I am sure this is very difficult. My first question concerns fairness. When you forgive, do you also ask for fairness? Forgiveness does not mean that we put up with unfair treatment. My second question concerns what forgiveness is. Are you responding mercifully to your husband? Are you excusing him as you forgive? Forgiveness does not find excuses. Regarding how long to forgive, if you are not in danger and if you are asking for fairness and if you are forgiving as a true expression of mercy and kindness toward him, then forgiveness can be a psychological protection for you. The hope is that your husband will respond to your call for him to stop, see your compassion, and then change for the better.

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