THE KEY TO A LASTING MARRIAGE
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Do you remember the Energizer Bunny? He was the mascot and marketing icon for Energizer Batteries. That little rabbit beat a bass drum … and he never stopped. He just kept going and going and going.
Wouldn’t it be nice if marriages were like that? Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you tied the knot, it wasn’t a slipknot? The sad truth is that tons of marriages don’t seem to last as long as an Energizer Battery.
I performed a wedding one time for a marriage that ended up lasting only four months. Four Months! I was shocked and dismayed. The couple went through nine weeks of premarital counseling and still trashed their wedding vows after four short months. Now, whenever I do a wedding, I have the couple repeat after me, “Divorce is not an option.” As Ruth Graham once said, “I never considered divorcing Billy, but I did think of murdering him.” She was obviously kidding about the latter.
WHAT IS THE KEY?
Without question, if you want to have a good and lasting marriage, one that keeps going and going and going, getting better and better as time marches on, there is one big requirement. It is the “F” word – forgiveness.
What is the source of all the problems in marriage? It is simple. Guys, you married a sinner. And she married a bigger one! When you get two sinners together, there will be fireworks, disagreements, hurt feelings and the need to seek forgiveness and grant forgiveness.
1. Seek Forgiveness. When you do something dumb, selfish and hurtful, be quick to take full responsibility and humbly and genuinely apologize. Don’t go to bed until you make right those things you made wrong. A good maxim to live by in your relationship with the Lord and your spouse: “When you mess up, fess up.” Spit on your pride and your rights and be quick to seek forgiveness for your sins and failures.
2. Grant Forgiveness. When your feelings have been hurt, don’t hold on to the hurt. Let it go. Even if your spouse does not seek forgiveness, grant it to him/her. Every hurt eventually turns to anger. And unresolved anger turns to bitterness and resentment, two poisonous snakes that inject their venom into the marriage until the love is dead and an icy cold fills the once happy home. God’s Word is clear, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Talk through problems, hurts and issues in the marriage. Don’t let molehills turn into mountains. Give your hurts to God and refuse to live in unforgiveness.
On March 15th, Debbie and I will celebrate our anniversary. We can honestly say that we love each other way more today than we did when we married at 23. Although we have had our fair share of bumps in the road, we have made the Lord our cornerstone and practiced seeking and granting forgiveness. It has made all the difference in the world.
In your marriage now (or marriage to come for those who are single), make it your goal to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. If you are thinking of throwing in the towel on your marriage, seek godly counsel before you do anything of the sort. God specializes in raising the dead. He can even raise your dead marriage, if you let Him.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.