Forgiveness in Marriage

In Will God Run?, Charles Hodge’s series of sermons on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, he points out that one of the main reasons that marriages struggle and often fail is because husbands and wives have a hard time forgiving one another (emphasis his):
“I think this is one of the underlying causes of unhappy homes and divorce. Maybe this should top the list. Husbands and wives outwardly forgive, but they don’t forget. They say, ‘Yes, you sinned against me, but I’ll forgive you.’ But they have built a skeleton closet in their house or they have a filing system. And the next time that husband or wife does something bad (and it’s really bad if it’s that same thing that has been forgiven) the mate runs over and pulls out the ‘old bones’ and beats the guilty over the head! ‘See, I forgave you. You did it again. Get out.’ 
Consequently, over a period of time and years these things grow because husbands and wives cannot forget. A marriage is destroyed. Again, husbands and wives can say things to each other and about each other that they would not say to their worst enemy! Husbands and wives think, say, and do things to each other that nations as enemies would not do in a world war! Homes can be saved only when husbands and wives will forgive and forget.”
Will God Run?, p. 68
I think these are great words. I’ve written before on the idea of forgiving and forgetting, and again, this isn’t something that comes to us naturally—it involves the swallowing of our pride, and the conscious decision to follow the teaching and example of Christ.


Justin and Heather Bland 4/19/12, 10:36 AM  

Heather and I were given great advice during our pre-marital counseling: "There are just a few issues that will continue to surface throughout your marriage. The major struggles are typically not new things, but things that you thought you took care of again and again."

Since we expect to deal with the same issues again and again we are prepared for it and it is not as surprising or frustrating when those issues come back up. In addition we can also strategize on how to handle future occurrences.

I don't think that this advice is completely applicable to every issue, but this bit of wisdom has helped us immensely and, I imagine, will continue to help us in the future.

Luke Dockery 4/20/12, 1:04 PM  


You got some great advice. It is amazing how the same issues seem to come up over and over. Related to the quotation from the post, it is important to recognize this, or else your ‘forgiveness’ is quickly tested when you have to deal with the same issue again.

Justin and Heather Bland 4/24/12, 12:34 PM  

solid point.

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