Forgiveness is a dicey topic because many people have the right to their emotions and interpretation of issues when disappointment happens. In a marriage context, relating to another person of the opposite sex that has a different mindset, values, beliefs, and ideologies can be very challenging.
In Matthew 19:3, when the Pharisees approached Jesus on the topic of marriage and divorce, they wanted to know if it is okay to leave your wife when she does anything wrong.
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” Matthew 19:3
This question shows how easy it will be for any man or woman to leave their marriage because of offenses and unmet expectations but Jesus had a very interesting answer.
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. Matthew 19:8
That shows that hardness of heart is one of the reasons why people hardly forgive their spouses.
How does this relate to forgiveness?
One day, I and my husband had a misunderstanding that continued for almost a week. Every attempt to resolve it kept failing. I was so angry at some of his actions that I became so irritated and almost said negative words.
While I was in that unhappy state, I picked up my Bible to get encouragement from God at that moment and I stumbled on Psalms 37.
7Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and abandon wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evil. –Psalms 37:7-8
At that moment, I felt cheated on the issue. I wanted to have a say or even revenge but God was teaching me to trust in Him. He told me not to react based on anger because my reaction will only lead to harm. He began to change my perspective on the issue and made me see farther than the current issue. With this new knowledge, it became easy to rise above my current pain and it helped me to forgive because I understand that un-forgiveness is a weapon that the enemy uses against us in marriage.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. 32 Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave [a]you. Ephesians 4:31-32 AMP
16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. James 3:16
These scriptures above show us that God does not want us to live in an atmosphere of anger, rage, bitterness, and strife. But this doesn’t stop us from getting offended, right?
Here are 5 ways to practice forgiveness in your marriage:
- Interpret issues from a higher level of understanding: People behave the way they do because of a lack of understanding, wrong ideologies, and faulty belief systems. This means that you are not waging war against your spouse but against his/her beliefs and foundations. Your spouse behaves wrongly because of poor modeling, works of the flesh, and self-seeking interests. But you know better and you should do better. Disassociate yourself from the issue and understand the real problem beyond your spouse.
- Ask God for a renewed perspective: When the Lord begins to show you why things are the way they are, it will spur you into a place of taking the right actions. Ask God to show you why your spouse acts that way and what you can do to make things better.
- Ask God for grace for forgiveness and strength to live beyond your expectations: Remember how you can forgive your rebellious child and still show care for them? It is because your love is stronger and you understand that your child doesn’t know better. Remember I’ve been emphasizing beliefs and ideologies. Lack of ignorance stops people from behaving in the right way no matter their age. Ask God to heal your heart and ease your mind.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
- Change your thought process: Your thoughts are a function of what you believe in and it determines your actions towards your spouse. When you begin to think new thoughts from a place of understanding and compassion, it changes your posture. Don’t rehearse those incidents over and over again, it will only frustrate you and make you feel like a victim.
8 Finally, [a]believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. Philippians 4:8 AMP
- Live freely as God’s redeemed: When you understand the restorative power of God in marriages, you will seek every opportunity to host God’s presence in your home by following His principles and letting him lead you. God is with you, ask for His help, and practice forgiveness easily. When you stop idolizing your partner, you will become empowered to see with new eyes and a healed heart. The Holy Spirit is our biggest comforter. He can comfort you with songs, scriptures, or through another person. While God heals your heart, seek him for wisdom and strategy to deal with the issues that you face so that there can be an improvement as you grow in your walk with God.
I pray that God heals your heart of every wound, scar, pain, and trauma of the past. May the Lord strengthen your heart and give you a renewed perspective. He will give you a clean heart and a pure mind and deal with your burdens for you. Stay comforted for it shall all pass soon and God is restoring the broken parches and dry places for you shall sing with Joy and testify of your goodness.
If you are a woman and you are currently struggling in your marriage, I will like to invite you to a 3 months mentoring program that will show you how to rise up in confidence, win back your marriage and connect with your spouse easily while becoming all that God has called you to be, find out more here: WARRIOR BRIDES NETWORK
PS: If your partner abuses you physically, please report the case and seek help. If your spouse cheated, it is your decision if you intend to leave or mend things up but the bible is clear on God’s view on adultery. If there are signs of remorse and a desire to make things work, then that’s fine if you can handle it but if it is a reoccurring act, be wise. This topic is addressing other kinds of issues that happen in the confines of marriage.
In what ways have you been struggling with forgiveness? Will you like to share what has worked for you and how we can be of help to you? Let us chat in the comment section below.