Forgiveness and repentance are choices that you can make as an individual. Nothing is required of another person for you to forgive them or for you to repent of your own wrongdoing. However, restoration is something you cannot do alone. Restoration requires participation of both people in the relationship.
Maybe you have spent years building a relationship. You've laughed with someone, been in their home and they have been in yours, you've cried with them, celebrated and grieved with them. Deep love and trust characterized your relationship. Then something happened - it may have been a small thing that became big or it may have been a big thing, but the relationship was changed, even broken, ended.
How does a person fix a broken relationship?
1. A person cannot fix a broken relationship alone. Relationships are about two people who choose to love and trust one another, who choose to share their life journeys together . . . perhaps for a long time, perhaps only for a season. Both people in the relationship must want to fix what has been broken and both people must be willing to be active in the restoration.
2. Every story has two sides. Each person has a perspective that needs to be heard and understood. Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People advised that people should seek first to understand and then to be understood. Once a person has been heard and understood they are more receptive to hearing the other side of the issue.
3. Repentance and forgiveness must be given and received. When the wrong is owned and forgiveness is given, a foundation is laid to rebuild the relationship. Restoration may not be instantaneous, but rather a process of rebuilding trust, committing to the relationship again, and perhaps even adjusting to a "new normal" (a different, but healthier way of relating).
If you have experienced a broken relationship, one that you have valued and desire to have restored, my prayer for you is that you and the other person will be able to look each other in the eye, hear each others stories, give and receive forgiveness, and experience restoration of what has been lost.
May God bless you with peace on this journey.