Suggested helps for speaking sweeter: Soul Talk: The Language God Longs for Us to Speak, by Larry Crabb; Love Talk, by Les & Leslie Parrott

Giving Forgiveness

"Love does not take into account a wrong suffered…" (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Do you often hear people saying, "I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget"? It’s an especially popular thing to say with the camera in one’s face on a reality TV program. Thank goodness that’s not how the Lord defines forgiveness. He instead wipes out our transgressions, turns crimson to snow white (Isaiah 1:18), and divides us from sin as far as East is from West (Psalms 103:12).

Which way is your marriage M.O. regarding wrongs done to you? Do you refuse to go to bed angry, do you grant mercy every morning, or do you have a little file drawer in the back of your brain that lists All the Stupid & Hurtful Things He’s/She’s Done to Me?

Once again, think back to your courtship, and ask yourself how many little foibles, faux paus, and thoughtless words you let slide with little more than a tiny reprimand just because you were so in love.

For our wedding, Valerie and I selected to have Colossians 3:12-19 read aloud. Within those verses we are admonished to: "bear with one another, and forgive each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Forgiveness and love and new beginnings go together like the secret ingredients of Val’s indescribable chili (honey, it's time for a new batch – you promised).

Suggested helps for giving forgiveness: How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong, by Leslie Vernick; Forgiveness: Intimate Marriage Series, by Dan B. Allender

We all get caught in those lulls in marriage where the wind isn’t blowing, the air gets stale, and nothing new happens. And it’s admittedly a tad trite to think living out some song lyrics is going to lift the doldrums, but the biblical mandates to love, guard our tongues, and forgive are sure solid. In the end, one thing all married (and formerly married) folks should have in common is fond memories of meeting and dating our spouse; otherwise, hopefully, we never would have bound our lives to theirs in the first place. Looking back is a good way to appreciate all those things that led to the commitment.

Try living like you were dating, even if actual dates are few and far between, and see if remembering your first love doesn’t translate to renewing your first love. 

Original publication date: August 8, 2007