you knew that i couldn't write a series on marriage and not addess this "f" word.
love keeps no record of wrongs, right?
but in reality, we know, we remember, we feel all over again
every. single. painful. moment.
i remember so clearly a moment in our own pre-marriage counseling when our counselor advised us to write some "fighting" rules together. she strongly cautioned us, "when in a fight, be careful of the words you say in the moment and never call names. though you can apologize for the words that were said, you can never fully take them back... they just float around out there in the sound waves and our memories replay them over and over again."
i know this may come as a shocker to those of you not yet married, but in the full swings of puppy love and the perpetual highs of finding the right "one" but not yet in the covenant, that you will have to forgive your spouse.
you. will. have. to. forgive. your. spouse.
that means, i know there may be some of you who still may be shaking your heads in disbelief, that your spouse will do something wrong enough to be in need of forgiveness.
forgiveness for what was said... and for what wasn't said. for what was done... and for what wasn't done. and sometimes, it will be a really big thing that is in need of forgiveness.
no one has a perfect marriage.
i know that we all have perceptions of other people's relationships, of their lives really. but when we assume that someone has that marriage that is just all fireworks and connection all of the time, we are playing that grass is greener on the other side of the fence game.
and i heard a great quote that i cannot forget -
the grass is greener where you water it.
image by myriah grubbswater your grass with the water of forgiveness.
no one has a perfect marriage, but it is very possible to have a very good one.
whenever i am at a bridal shower and they pass around those little cute cards that you are supposed to write a few words of advice on to encourage the bride to be i always write the same thing -
forgive.it really is the number 1 piece of marriage advice i can give. it is the one reason i still like my husband today - i choose every day to forgive and to remind myself to stop keeping a record of wrongs. sometimes it may be a daily choice, other times a moment by moment choice.
love keeps no record of wrongs.
1 corinthians 13
when my mind wants to replay and relive the painful words or actions in the past, i must choose to forgive.
i have heard so many objections to this single topic - sheesh, i have come up with many objections in my own soul how i should hold onto offense over things done to me - but if we are followers of Jesus this is one thing that isn't negotiable in any relationship we find ourselves in, let alone marriage.
if you find this speaking straight to where you are at and your eyes are open to some unforgiveness or hurt feelings lurking in the shadows of your heart, let me encourage you to start right now in giving the hurt to God and extending mercy towards your spouse (or any other person who has wronged you). "i forgive you" aren't magic words that make the pain of it all just immediately vanish. forgiveness is a choice we have to walk out after we speak it out.
i heard this great illustration a while back from bob jones that i will never forget:
forgiveness is like a yo-yo. keep throwing it out there until the string breaks and it stops coming back.
you see, we don't forgive the big things just one time. if you have pain or anxiety when you think of someone, it means there is still a deeper level of forgiveness that still needs to happen. extend mercy once again, like throwing out the yo-yo, until the memory or thought of the person doesn't cause pain in your heart any more. the pain can stop coming back. but it takes determination to forgive time and time and time again, and choose to let go of the right to demand things are made right.
sometimes things are made right. sometimes people show true remorse for their offense. sometimes they won't. we still forgive, simply because He forgave us.
at the end of the day we have to remember, if He forgave us all of our sin then why in the world would we choose to not forgive the sins done against us? (He even mentioned that if we refuse to forgive, the Father will withhold forgiveness from us as well. pretty sober thought, huh?)
now walking it out is hard at times, isn't it? oh, but it is so worth it because "he who is forgiven much, loves much." (luke 7:47) our true forgiveness can draw forth love out of our spouse. forgiveness has the potential to not just mend the relationship, but cause it to flourish!
we have been forgiven so much at the cross. let us love others the way He loves us - and let's start by forgiving our spouse. water your grass so it flourishes a deep shade of green.