Forgiveness in Marriage
Practicing forgiveness in marriage is not always easy. If it were, we wouldn’t need God to help us through it. Thankfully, through Jesus’ example, we have a blueprint which we can learn to practice with each other. The more we are quick to forgive, the easier it becomes.
The Symptom & Solution
Are you quick to forgive your spouse?
We have a checklist of signs that you may be holding onto unforgiveness or lacking Grace in your marriage. See how you measure up.
1. Do You Focus on the Negatives?
As couples leave the honeymoon phase of a marriage little things the other spouse does or does not do, begins to grate on them. Before long, instead of noticing all the amazing qualities their spouse possess, they become focused on all the ways they fail.
It doesn’t take long for all those little things to add up into one giant thing. And before you even realize it, you are focusing on all the ways they are missing the boat in the relationship.
Focusing on the negative is like a germ hiding away. It can slip in undetected at first. Before long, you are infected with thoughts and feelings of what our spouse is not doing right. We may even be tempted to keep a record of their offenses, which usually tumbles out during an argument.
Are you focusing on the negatives about your spouse? If so, you might be harboring unforgiveness in your heart.
Solution: Refocus on Positives
Instead of remembering their flaws, focus on how they positively affect your life. Make a list that you can refer to when you are feeling disgruntled, or lacking grace with your spouse. The list is an excellent resource to refocus your mind back on what is good about them and helps foster forgiveness in marriage.
2. Do You Keep Score?
Are you keeping score of all the tasks you do around the house or what you do for your spouse? Do the words “I do all the work” sound familiar? Perhaps you have uttered this to yourself or your spouse. If you can relate, you might be dealing with the “martyr syndrome” which is rooted in unforgiveness.
Solution: Adopt a Servant Attitude
Forget all the things you do for them. Keeping a tally, or boasting our record of service toward our spouse is just another form of withholding forgiveness in marriage. Jesus is the perfect image of marriage, selflessness. When we are selfless, we are no longer concerned with our happiness, we are sacrificially giving ourselves without something in return.
It may be true that some household duties are unbalanced for many reasons. If the workload is unfairly unbalanced, then communicate with your spouse how you are feeling about it.
3. Do You Complain To or About Your Spouse?
We all get frustrated with our spouses at times. It’s not wrong to want our spouse to fulfill our needs. However, complaining about what the other does, or doesn’t do instead of discussing them is not the best way to resolve them.
Life or death lies within our words. Complaining to one another fuels negative feelings. Before long, what began as a small frustration, becomes a mountain of resentment.
Also, avoid complaining about your spouse to others. It steals their honor in marriage. Are you quick to complain about your spouse to others, or to them?
Solution: Think and Give More Praise
Praise them for what they bring to the relationship instead of complaining about what they lack. We are gifted with different talents and strengths. Allow those differences to strengthen your marriage instead of tearing it down.
When we adopt an attitude that notices what they do right in the relationship, marriages flourish. If a need is not being met, discuss it without a complaining spirit.
A Beautiful Bittersweet Phrase
Unforgiveness is poison to the body and a relationship. If allowed to fester, it can destroy a marriage. Ask God to rein in the thoughts or speech that fuel negative feelings. Instead, honor them with your words and thoughts.
Sometimes, refocusing can be a challenge, especially if you are deep in the throes of negativity. When this happens, praying helps. However, seeking outside help can be beneficial as well. Consider speaking to your church pastor or counselor to get marriage help, or seek out relationship coaching to help you get back on track.