“Why does he not see things the way I do?” This question rang in my head as I walked up and down my street. Step after step did not take me further from the selfish anger that seemed to float around me like a thick cloud.
Marriage is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever known and yet at the same time can test me the most in hard moments.
One of the best pieces of marriage advice I’ve ever been given was,
“Good Marriages are Made Up of Good Forgivers.”
It’s funny how many times that sentence has popped into my head in the few short years that I’ve been married. Forgiveness is key to unity and to keeping my heart open to my spouse.
The problem is that I only really love this marital truth when I AM the one who needs to be forgiven. In the moments when I have let my husband down, I so deeply hope that he will choose to forgive me; choose to start anew with me.
I deeply hope that he will forget my shortcomings and never remember them or bring them up again. However, when he is the one who needs to be forgiven, OH BOY does it feel different. In my sinfulness, sometimes I do not even feel like forgiving him. I want him to feel. my. frustration. so he can understand how angry he made me. My selfishness tells me to sit in my feelings for a little longer until he really learns his lesson.
The problem with unforgiveness is that it ultimately hurts you more than your spouse and God’s word is pretty clear about it.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
The truth is that my husband is an amazing man and a wonderful husband! He is not the problem, the problem is my sinful heart. God has forgiven you and me so He tells us in turn to forgive, but it’s difficult. (I want to mention, the kind of issues I’m discussing here are the common, every day things we do that hurt each other. I’m not talking about huge reoccurring issues or life-changing hurts that would need professional help to walk through.)
So how do we forgive?
- Ask God to help you forgive.
- Choose to let anger and hard feelings go and to love instead
- Rinse and Repeat
This process happens on a loop until my heart starts to truly change. It can take days, weeks, or in some cases months to fully forgive, but harboring hurt feelings destroys unity and injures you from the inside out.