“Love is responsible—Can your spouse say that you have wronged or wounded them in any way and never made it right? Part of taking responsibility is admitting when you’ve failed and asking for forgiveness. God wants there to be no unresolved issues between the two of you”. Love Dare
I love this rich quote from the Love Dare calendar sitting on the bookshelf in my home-office. I looked over at it as I prepared to write a message for the Café on Marriage and this quote leaped off of the page and confirmed the message to be shared on forgiveness in a marriage.
Is there a wound within your marriage that has not been dealt with? Is unforgiveness fueling the distance within your marriage? Have hurtful words been spoken that no one refuses to own (take responsibility for), and each person is waiting for the other to apologize? If so, please resolve the issue now before it becomes bigger than your marriage. There are some wounds that when left unresolved, can create strife, separation and even lead to divorce and broken families.
Early in our marriage we would argue about some of the most ridiculous things—my meatballs vs. his Mothers meatballs, his holding up the newspaper to read while I was speaking to him which made me feel unimportant. There were also more serious issues that created wounds between us like the emotional wounds I brought into the marriage from being violated in my past. These wounds caused me not to trust him fully and to be emotionally needy. He brought into the marriage his own issues of living as an “island”–not needing the fellowship of people or what I called being disconnected. When you place a disconnected person with a needy person problems will arise—anger will flare, hurtful words will be spoken and neither will want to admit they are wrong—both are saying, “I’m not wrong you are!” This can cause deep wounds unless someone makes the decision to stop scabbing over the problem with a band aid and really desire for the wounds to be healed. When the desire to be whole outweighs the desire to be right in comes Christ and the healing begins.
After 22 years of marriage I can truly say that my hubby and I don’t have the type of communication breakdown we had during the first several years of our marriage. We’ve reached a place where when we upset each other we deal with it quickly because of four primary reasons: 1. We want to please God in our marriage. 2. It takes far too much of our energy, joy and peace to stay angry or distant from each other and we love each other too much for that! 3. It’s not a good example for our adult children and our grandchildren if they were to see or sense tension between us. 4. It would mess with our ministry—with our ability to serve others in Christ. The Bible tells us in Amos 3:3 Can two walk together but they be agreed? The answer is no, not fully and effectively and that includes within marriage.
3 steps toward wholeness in your marriage:
1. Be willing to look at your contribution to the problem. Pointing the finger out in blame is easy but a truly strong and humble person will point the finger inward and be willing to ask God to show them the areas where they need to be and do better within the marriage.
2. Create boundaries. I shared above four primary areas that we keep in the forefront of our minds within our marriage: pleasing God, our love for each other, being a good example for our children and grandchildren and being able to serve God effectively in ministry. What are your boundaries? It is important to create them and then maintain them as sacred within your covenant. I call them boundaries because they are the driving forces that keep you and your spouse grounded when distractions and situations arise within your marriage that would attempt to cause strife.
3. Let go of being a right fighter. If you have the need to always be right, to always have the last word and to be the last to apologize then you are a right fighter and that will cause great wounds in your marriage. It can also destroy your marriage or at the least it will cause division and zap the love and joy out of your relationship. Learn to apologize quickly and forgive easily.
The Love Dare said, “Love is responsible.” I agree with that statement, don’t you? We’re adults and we’ve been given the gift of marriage. Let’s be responsible in how we care for our covenant gift. It’s not always going to be easy but when done with Christ in the lead it will be rewarding!
I pray this message blesses you and your marriage. If I can pray for you please get in touch. We’re in this journey of marriage together. There is no perfect person or perfect marriage only a perfect God so let’s trust in Him together.