by Sheri E Ragland
When an issue or problem in your relationship arises, do you forgive your partner/spouse when it is all said and done? Or, do you allow words of discourse, pride, and negative attitude rule your relationship? Couples sometimes find it difficult to forgive each other in the heat of the moment, as well as after the blowup. The out-of-control arguments prevent couples from seeing the big picture and the possibilities for their relationship to progress. For many couples, forgiving their partner/spouse is a challenge because it happens after negative words and behaviors have occurred. Emotions are still raw and distance makes reconnecting harder. Once you both calm down, it is time to reconnect and forgive each other in order to move forward. Therefore, your discussion should include an apology. It doesn’t matter who apologizes first when there is a problem or misunderstanding as long as there is forgiveness that follows. The key is to recognize that bad behaviors need to change for the sake of you and your partner /spouse; and, that the happiness and success of your relationship depends on your progress together. Here are several key reasons why you and your partner/spouse should practice forgiveness.
Forgiveness can be a preventative measure against future damage. An attitude of forgiveness may not prevent bitterness, anger, hostility, and disrespectful arguments from taking place in your relationship. However, an attitude of forgiveness can make an individual conscientious of his/her negative actions and he/she may be less likely to behave in a negative way over time. It is a process of reinforcing positive behavior to stop bad behaviors. Therefore, the attitude of forgiveness can protect your relationship from destructive behaviors that cause contention and strife with your partner/spouse.
Forgiveness is liberating to you and your partner/spouse. Mathew 18:21-22 (ESV) states, “21 Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times’…..” According to the Scriptures, we are to forgive every time. Forgiving is an act of humility and a sign of commitment to your partner/spouse. However, it is not a license to condone or practice bad behavior. At some point and time, maturity should help you manage your behavior more effectively.
Forgiving is a freeing process. Deep seeded resentment is toxic to you and your partner/spouse. Therefore, there is nothing positive about unforgiveness. Unforgiveness holds an individual hostage to bad behavior and torments everyone who embraces it. Releasing your partner/spouse is a liberating process for you because it creates internal peace and it is reminder to your partner/spouse that his/her wrongs will be forgotten in order to move forward.
Forgiveness can be an important part of the healing process when damage has been done in a relationship. The Scriptures provides the healing process, which is to pray for and bless those who treat you harshly. Romans 12:14-16 states, “14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another.” There will be times when your hurt may be greater than your ability to forgive. However, I believe that faith in God’s Word can help you to move past the issue. The choice to forgive is yours. It is important that you and your partner/spouse understand the spiritual significance of forgiveness based on biblical principles. Those principles never change and can be referred to daily for strength and encouragement. Addressing the spiritual component of your relationship will help you and your partner/spouse obtain balance.
Use Tools to Assist You – The Holy Bible App – The Holy Bible App is a great resource tool that can be accessed any time on a cell phone once the App is downloaded. The App also has a number of short lesson plans for couples, as well as individual. The App addresses topics for couples, such as commitment, conflict, romance, infidelity, finances, family, and prayer. The plans take about 10 to 15 minutes a day. The App has daily verses that can be shared via texting, Facebook, Twitter, Path and email. Some of the mini-plans for couples include “Forgiveness,” “Healthy Conflict in Marriage,” “Marriage: A Lifelong Journey,” and more. The plans are written by Christian experts that believe in the application of biblical principles for spiritual support. Therefore, you and your partner/spouse can choose plans that best suit your needs.
Here are some final thoughts on how forgiveness can work in your relationship. Forgiveness:
a) is a way to successfully manage your relationship together through healthy communications, respect, kindness, encouragement and support.
b) is meant to encourage you and your partner/spouse to change for the better.
c) allows you and your to move forward and not dwell on the problem anymore.
d) is a powerful attitude that promotes healthy behaviors in a relationship.
Use resources and tools, such as the Holy Bible App for study plans related to your needs. Practice forgiveness and watch your relationship change for the better.
English Standard Version (ESV). 2001. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Nashville, TN: Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. http://www.biblegateway.com.