Compassion also means forgiving our mate, but forgiving doesn't mean we're saying the sin didn't happen or that he or she shouldn't suffer the consequences of sin. But it means releasing our anger and our need to take revenge. Then set up a plan for accountability and strength for your spouse to turn from the sin so that the two of you can be reconciled.

How Others See It
Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Agree on a follow-up plan. "If I notice something again, how do you want me to help you? What do you want me to do?" This way you become a team member to deal with the problem and not a police officer. You might want to talk to him about bringing other resources to the problem as well, such as friends to hold him accountable. The important issue is that you are together as a team to fight the reoccurrence.

Becky and Roger Tirabassi give seven motivators for forgiving others:  

  1. To forgive someone benefits you.
  2. To forgive doesn't mean you allow the person to continue to hurt you in the same way.
  3. Most people don't intentionally try to hurt you.
  4. God wants us to forgive others.
  5. It won't be long before you will need to be forgiven.
  6. Forgiveness becomes easier when you look for similar behavior in your life.
  7. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision!

This article originally posted on November 5, 2007.

Excerpted from What's in the Bible for Couples © 2007 by Kathy Collard Miller, D. Larry Miller, and Larry Richards, Ph.D.  Copyright © 2007; ISBN 9780764203848

Used by permission of Bethany House Publishers.  Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.