In full transparency, after 17 years of marriage and 22 years together we, Ryan and Ashlie Cook, had LOTS of need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Like many of you, we have way more examples of failure than success!
The process of forgiveness has been one of the toughest and most important lessons in our marriage.
Now, the word reconcile is a very “churchy” term. It basically means to restore a relationship. You put things back together when there has been a separation. Maybe it was a hurtful comment, though unintentional, it created a wound, or maybe it was a huge betrayal. Depending on what separated you in the first place, it can be a pretty big task to restore things.
God’s heart for marriage is that you always work toward forgiveness and restoration. The Bible does give some allowances for ending the marriage, but God always invites us to try and work it out. (See Matthew 19:7-9)
So, what does forgiveness currently look like in your own marriage?
Do you address issues quickly or delay working on them?
Does your husband or wife always find a way to blame you and never actually say “I’m sorry”?
Have there been so many hurts, lies, small things, and big things that have piled up that you don’t even know where to start?
We can tell you from experience, that if things are going to turn around, at least one of you has to start down the path of humility and forgiveness. If you both dig in and keep blaming the other for all the problems, your marriage is very likely to fail.
Now the verse below applies to every follower of Jesus, but it’s a great framework for what forgiveness in marriage needs to look like.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
Here are a few things we’ve learned.
1.) Remember Who You Are
You are “God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved”. Your identity empowers your forgiveness. Your worth and value are based on Jesus’ gift of salvation. You’re a part of God’s family…