Secret 6: Forgiveness
“Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely.”—Colossians 3:13.
What this means. Successful couples learn from the past; but they do not keep track of old grievances and then use these to make sweeping assertions, such as “You are always late” or “You never listen.” Both husband and wife believe that “it is beauty . . . to pass over transgression.”—Proverbs 19:11.
Why it matters. God is “ready to forgive,” but that is not always so with humans. (Psalm 86:5) Old wrongs left unresolved can produce layers of resentment that accumulate to the point where forgiveness seems impossible. Each spouse may retreat into an emotional corner—each one remaining callous to the other’s feelings. Both feel trapped in a loveless marriage.
Try this exercise. Look at old photographs of you and your spouse taken earlier in your marriage or during your courtship. Try to rekindle the warmth you felt before problems crept in and clouded your view. Then think of the qualities that first attracted you to your spouse.
▪ What qualities do you most admire about your spouse now?
▪ Think of some positive effects that your being a more forgiving person might have on your children.
Make a resolve. Think of one or two ways you will determine to keep past grievances out of present disagreements you may have with your spouse.
Why not praise your spouse for the qualities you admire about him or her?—Proverbs 31:28, 29.
Consider some ways you will demonstrate forgiveness with your children.
Why not discuss with your children the subject of forgiveness and how the ability to forgive benefits each member of the family?
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When you forgive, the debt is canceled. You do not try to reclaim it