Foundational Attribute of a Strong Marriage: Forgiveness

forgive_meContinued from here.

Another lie that society has sold us is that the most important attribute of a good marriage is communication. While communication is certainly important, it doesn’t come close to a much more important attribute that is foundational to all strong marriages: forgiveness.

On her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer recently said something profound: “When we decide to continue in a relationship with someone, we decide in advance to forgive.” A relationship doesn’t work when you are tallying up a mental list of everything that your spouse has done wrong. For relationships to flourish, we need to prioritize the relationship over “being right,” and that means forgiveness.

Let me share an amusing example: On our honeymoon, my husband learned that I have a tendency to forget to bring food home from a restaurant. A local pizza place was having a buy one, get one free sale on pizza. After sharing one pizza, I sat at the table with an untouched, freshly boxed pizza while he went to pay the bill. When he waved for me to join him, I left the entire pizza sitting on the table. He was not pleased later in the evening when he looked for the pizza to snack on and discovered its absence. Meanwhile, the pizza had not once crossed my mind all evening.

That happened almost 25 years ago, and we have numerous other similar stories to share. I don’t do this on purpose. I have no idea why I am apparently incapable of transporting food home from a restaurant, but no matter how hard I try to remember, I forget at least half the time. Nevertheless, my husband has never gotten angry with me about this. While I am sure he finds this trait annoying, he has decided in advance to forgive me, so this annoying tendency of mine has never once caused a marital conflict. While my husband has every reason to be frustrated with me over this, he has chosen to let go of his frustration, no matter how many times I mess up, because he values our relationship over the food.

If you want a happy marriage, it’s time to let some things go. Extend grace to your spouse. He or she is never going to be perfect, and that’s OK – neither are you. If you will both cut each other some slack and extend grace, you will be amazed by how much happier you are. After all, if the purpose of marriage is holiness, these annoying situations provide us with ample opportunity to practice Christlikeness as we forgive our spouse in the same way that Jesus forgives us.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding a flower and asking, “Forgive me?” Courtesy of Bitmoji.]