5. Healthy Couples Forgive Each Other
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Even the best marriage has its rough patches. One partner hurts the other and the relationship suffers.
Forgiveness acknowledges that marriages are made up of two flawed human beings who need grace, not judgment. Healthy relationships model forgiveness to a watching world, and we are most Christ-like when we forgive.
Our children, extended family, and even outsiders see Christ in us when we extend forgiveness, especially when our spouse doesn’t deserve it. But forgiveness doesn’t mean overlooking offenses that need to be addressed, putting yourself in harm’s way in an abusive relationship, or turning a blind eye to sin and unmet needs.
A healthy marriage recognizes that unforgiveness leads to bitterness, and bitterness poisons the heart, mind, and soul. As Lewis B. Smedes observed, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
A marriage characterized by forgiveness doesn’t to use the silent treatment or the cold shoulder to punish. Instead, it talks through the issues and forgives. Forgiving spouses remember how Christ forgave them and extend the same forgiveness—seventy times seven.
They refuse to keep a list of wrongs, hurts, and disappointments. As a couple, we seek to follow the principles of Ephesians 4:31-32: “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.”
On December 28, 2020, David and I will celebrate our 36th anniversary. Our journey hasn’t always been fun, easy, or conflict free.
As we put Christ at the center of our home, support each other’s dreams, study each other, spend time together and apart, and forgive as Christ forgave us, our relationship has grown healthy and strong—a beautiful testimony of God’s grace.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Kyle Bearden