Agree or disagree: Forgiveness is one of, if not the most important aspect of marriage.
You might say it is love, but come to think of it—isn’t forgiveness a huge part of it? There is no love without forgiveness, and you can only sustain a marriage if you know how to truly forgive.
Here’s the good thing about forgiveness: It is possible! You can always choose to cultivate forgiveness in your marriage and your home.
Let forgiveness reign within your marriage with these 5 helpful tips:
1. Be quick to forgive
One of the most common misconceptions about forgiveness is that it is a “one-time, bigtime” thing. Truth is, forgiveness is a day-by-day process of extending grace into your marriage.
Colossians 3 holds the same message: forgive quickly and completely. Be honest about how the hurt has affected you, but don’t stay in that pit for too long lest it breed anger and bitterness. Choose not to linger on the offense. Forgive quickly. Forgive frequently.
“Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-14 MSG)
2. Keep no record of wrongs
When your spouse wronged you, it’s so easy to fall into the habit of finding faults in everything that they do. Knowing this reality, the Bible has a gentle reminder: Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Do you want to cultivate forgiveness in your marriage?
Avoid keeping mental notes of what’s been done to you. Stop looking for occasions to be offended and avoid continuously punishing your spouse for the offenses they have made in the past. Let go and let God do the work in their hearts.
3. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth
Things might not have worked out the way you wanted; you’ve been hurt the way you hadn’t expected. All that pain, disappointment, and anger could easily contaminate your communication with your spouse.
Allowing hateful talk with your spouse is like rubbing salt into an open wound. It aggravates the situation, yet it brings no good. Instead of reminding your spouse of their failures and frailties, sow gentle words of love and encouragement to build them up. Choose your words wisely.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 ESV)
4. Confess, apologize, and pray
You and your spouse will both make mistakes, that’s a given. But if you look at successful marriages, you will see a common denominator: they are good forgivers.
Therefore, a lasting marriage is a union of two very forgiving people—a husband and wife who both have this habit of confessing their wrongs, apologizing, and asking for forgiveness.
Why not start with yourself? Show your spouse that you forgive them, then pray for them. Show how much you value forgiveness, so you can encourage them to make room for forgiveness as well. It might be hard at first especially when the offense is too deep, so it’s good to remember that you can always ask God to help you forgive.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16 ESV)
5. Realize that you needed forgiveness too
Before you can extend forgiveness to others, it’s important to realize that you needed forgiveness, too—and it was freely given to you.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This means that you, too, make mistakes. Thankfully, God isn’t only just—He is continuously forgiving! He showed His forgiveness, mercy, and love for you by dying on the cross and giving you an eternal life.
So whenever you’re torn between exercising justice and forgiving your spouse, choose forgiveness. Forgiveness is powerful and healing, so give it to your spouse in the same way you have received it from God.
This Holy Week, witness the power of forgiveness in restoring a marriage marred by betrayal. Watch Tanikala: Paghilom, starring real-life couple Marco and Lara Quigaman-Alcaraz, airing on April 15, at 10:30 AM on GMA.