Listen to the Message
A brother (spouse) wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.”
-- Proverbs 18:19 (NIV)
No marriage is beyond the reach of God’s healing grace. If both partners will make an unconditional commitment to their marriage, and to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, their relationship can be restored.
Healing is a process and it requires both time and commitment.
So what can you do to heal your relationship?
1) The first step is often the hardest. It requires both spouses to own their mistakes and to seek the Lord’s help in making appropriate changes in their personal behavior. In biblical terms this is called confession and repentance.
Proverbs 28:13 (MSG): “You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.”
Take a minute right now and examine the way you relate to your spouse. Pray Psalm 139: 23-24 (NIV):
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
2) Sincerely apologize to your spouse and seek their forgiveness.
a) Be specific. Don’t speak in generalities.
b) Any apology that includes a “but” is not a sincere apology but just an attempt to make your spouse responsible for your behavior.
c) Instead say, “There is no excuse for what I did. I only hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. With God’s help I pledge to never repeat my sinful behavior.”
3) Choose to forgive your spouse as Christ has forgiven you.
“…Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 MSG).
God did not forgive us because we deserved to be forgiven but because He loved us.
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities...
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
-- Psalm 103:10 and 12 (NIV)
We do not forgive our spouse because they deserve to be forgiven but because forgiveness is the only way to heal our marriage. If we refuse to forgive we are sentencing ourselves to a lifetime of pain and regret.
THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS
Our marriage was healed and restored because I was willing to own my mistakes, and Brenda was willing to forgive me.