“To err is human, to forgive is divine.” These are words penned by Alexander Pope on “Essay on Criticism.” This is a true statement but seems to be often forgotten in the marriage relationship. Whether it’s holding on to hurtful words, a disrespectful action, or the resurfacing of past wrongs, a unwillingness to forgive can create a wall between husband and wife.
Instead of dealing with these problems directly, they are worn as a badge of resentment eventually leading to bitterness. The other spouse may not even know that this ticking time bomb exists or he/she may have already apologized. The result of this is a hard and callused heart that questions the marriage altogether.
Withholding forgiveness is like having ivy growing on the base of a house which slowly creeps along the walls and eventually takes over the whole house. Similarly, an unforgiving spirit will slowly affect a couple’s interaction, communication, and eventually the marriage. This is usually a slow fade as one of the spouses makes a conscious decision to hold on to the baggage of past hurts. Although this affects the spouse who probably does not know what’s going on, it also affects the person withholding forgiveness creating an emotional toll. This emotional toll can manifest itself physically.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Therefore friends, it definitely is divine to forgive. It not only can save one from physical ailments, it can also help save the “woness” of your marriage.
What are steps that a spouse can take to reach a point where forgiveness is possible? Stay tuned for my next post.