"Do you and Ryan ever fight?"
A while back a friend and I were having a conversation about relationships and she asked me this question. I almost laughed when I realized that she genuinely believed that my husband and I were BFFs 24/7.
Of course we're not.
Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we're grumpy. Sometimes we're selfish. Sometimes we do things to irritate each other on purpose. Sometimes I don't squeeze the toothpaste out in just the right way. Sometimes he puts his dirty dishes next to the dishwasher instead of in it.
My point is, we're not perfect.
In all honesty, this life we have together shouldn't even work at all. A marriage between two ridiculously flawed people like us is destined to fail before it even begins.
And it would, except for one thing.
That right there, friend, is the key ingredient to a happy marriage.
Conflict in a marriage is like a cancer. If not treated with forgiveness, it will eat away at your relationship with your spouse until there is nothing left but a hollow, disfigured shell of what was intended to be a beautiful thing.
Now I'm not saying that this is a one-step, easy-peasy, fix-all solution to every problem you have. It isn't.
I'm also not saying that once you forgive each other it's a done deal and you won't have to worry about it again for the rest of your married life. Trust me, you'll have to worry about it quite a few more times.
Forgiveness is an everyday, all the time, even-on-the-good-days kind of thing and without it a marriage will wither and die.
So how do you put that into practice? How do you use forgiveness nurture your relationship with your spouse?
Come to terms with the fact that you're not perfect.
One of the first things you need to realize is how desperately you yourself need forgiveness. You need to take responsibility for your own actions and reactions, yes, even the sinful ones. That being said, don't become discouraged by them. You have been offered forgiveness through Christ, so take him up on it!
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..."
Remember that your spouse isn't perfect either.
Expecting them to always do things right is completely unrealistic and you will always be disappointed. They are going to make mistakes and they need to be forgiven just as much as you do. To put it simply, don't hold a grudge. If Christ has offered you forgiveness, you should do likewise for them.
"Put on then, as God's chose ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."
Show your spouse that you love them
. Make it obvious. Encourage them. Be supportive. Don't just go your separate ways and act like nothing happened. When you resolve conflict in your relationship, it is an opportunity to grow closer to each other. Utilize that. As my grandma would say, "Making up is the best part!"
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
So, friend, here's my point.
Forgive. Your marriage is worth it.