Everything I know about marriage, I learned in divorce Part 2: Forgiveness

Read Part 1 of “Everything I know about marriage, I learned in divorce”.

Many couples go through divorce because there has been so much pain caused that it seems impossible to move forward knowing that your spouse has hurt you so many times and it seems like he/she will never stop. It is so hard to continue on forgiving the same mistakes over and over again! “How many more times is my spouse going to continue to keep hurting my feelings?” “My spouse will NEVER GET IT! He/she is always doing things to make me feel insecure/lonely/angry/insignificant…” The list goes on and on, right?

As I go through my own divorce, I hope to share my realizations and breakthroughs about marriage during the very raw stages of heartbreak and healing. It is in my heart to use my life to help those who may be in my situation or nearing separation or divorce. I am for marriage. I want couples to stay married. I may sound like a hypocrite saying that as I am in my own situation. But every marriage is different. I am not perfect. And I hope to use my life, even in the middle of the storm, as a testimony of how God is teaching me about becoming a better wife in the future. I pray that God moves in your own situations and that whatever the outcome, that you (and even your spouse) come out victorious and have peace in your lives.

Have you ever heard of the saying that goes something like, “Marriage is deciding everyday that you will forgive your spouse”? Now, before I go into this, let me say that forgiveness does not mean that you will tolerate abuse of any kind. There are absolutely circumstances that forgiveness can and should be given, but separation of the lives must occur. However, I also see that in many marriages, maybe even most marriages, forgiveness – true forgiveness can and should be given and so many families can be saved from brokenness.

Let me tell you something. Even in divorce your ex-spouse will continue to hurt you, possibly even MORE than while being married to this person. And guess what?! You will probably do the same to your ex-spouse! And if you have children, even if you try to avoid your ex-spouse like the plague, you are forced to communicate one way or another. What do you do when your ex continues to hurt you? You have to get up everyday and start fresh and somehow find a way to forgive her/him for the sake of communicating for the children. What makes this any different than in marriage?

I believe that while being married, you and your spouse need to be clear about the commitment of marriage and live everyday knowing that your actions should have positive intentions for your spouse. Being mindful of your spouse’s emotions, state of mind, state of stress and being even more mindful of your words and actions can save so much unnecessary hurt. I used to think, “why do I have to walk on eggshells all the time for this person?!” It is not about walking on eggshells or the thought of accidentally stepping on a land mine with saying the wrong thing to your spouse. It is more about understanding that words, actions and reactions all have meaning in your marriage, and because you have committed to love and care for this person, you understand that this person will take your words and actions deeply in their heart, good or bad. And because you love your spouse, you intend to live everyday by blessing him/her with your words, actions and prayers.

On the flip side, forgiving your spouse who may have done or said something to hurt you can become an everyday occurrence. It can be for silly things that annoy you that you can easily forget about, or for actions that cut deeper in your heart. For things that hurt you more deeply, it is important to make your spouse understand how and why you were hurt and speak with love even when you want to yell and point fingers. And if you are the offender, which we all are at some point, you must listen with an open mind and heart and try your best to not get defensive about your wrongs and justify them by also pointing your finger at your spouse. It is a cycle. And if you and your spouse understand this together, which only comes from true communication and working to have a close bond with your spouse, resentment and pain will not be a big factor in your marriage as much as grace, forgiveness and love.

What lessons in marriage or divorce can you share with us about forgiveness? Comment below! Thank you for listening.

Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

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