To put it plainly, if you find your marriage falling short in the areas of forgiveness and apologizing, rest assured that you are not alone! Many, if not most, marriages face this challenge. Perhaps forgiveness wasn’t modeled well for you growing up, or maybe different life events have made the process of forgiveness extremely difficult for you. Whatever your scenario, there is hope for you to learn the art of forgiveness in your marriage!
Have you or your spouse ever found yourself saying things like “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “If I offended you, I’m sorry.” These are not actually true, genuine, repentant apologies and often cause feelings of blame on the offended party. Instead, let’s challenge that way of thinking. Better, more heartfelt words of apology would look like, “I’m sorry I did/said ________. You matter to me and I don’t want to offend you.”
Likewise, biblically speaking, it is in the best interest of the marriage and of each individual to forgive quickly. While it may take time to process and even heal from offenses, forgiveness can and should be immediate. Withholding forgiveness and dragging situations out is a breeding ground for bitterness and leaves room for issues to be left unresolved, causing even more damage.
Just as we have been forgiven by Jesus, as His followers He calls us to forgive freely and willingly. This may be challenging at first, but with time it will not only become more natural, it will improve the overall quality of your marriage and your own emotional health!
Want to dig even deeper? Learn more about our Marriage Intensives here.