Forgiveness, in the life a Christian, is an ongoing thing.
That is never truer in the course of marriage. Spending years in such proximity to another flawed human being is hard but forgiving makes it easier.
My husband likes to sleep late. He hits the snooze button and doesn’t get out of bed until he has to. During the week, he knows exactly how many minutes it takes him get ready and catch the train. On the weekends he’s usually the last one up.
When we first got married this wasn’t an issue. We established a routine on workday mornings. I’d get up first because I had to be at work first. When I was done using the bathroom, it was my husband's turn. Saturdays and Sundays were a little different. We rarely had anywhere to be so we would sleep in together.
A few years later when we had children, I no longer worked outside my home. However, I was still was the first one up. Not so I could get showered and dressed but so that I could quiet a crying child or feed an impatient toddler. I’d clothe all three kids and pack my husband’s lunch, what felt like a day’s worth of work, all before my dear husband opened his eyes. I knew he needed his sleep because he worked long tedious hours – but so did I. I thought surely on the weekends he would get up early and help me. He didn't
I forgave him.
As the kids got older, they grew more independent. I woke up early for different reasons. Since I wasn't getting up in the middle of the night with the babies, I tried to get back into the habit of an early morning devotional. My goal became to get up before the kids so I could think, pray, and get a head start on the day. On days I wasn’t able to get up early, a little one woke me up because they needed me. They asked me to turn the TV on, get them a drink, or make them breakfast. They rarely woke my husband.
I couldn’t understand why my husband didn’t want to get up with me have and a glass of orange juice together or lend a hand with the kids. After all, that’s what I heard other couples did.
I became grumpy. I judged him as lazy, even though he was hands-on with the kids, took care of our home, and provided for us.
I had to forgive my husband again.
Each morning my husband didn’t get up I felt rejected. I thought that if he loved me, he would get up with me. When I took the time to understand the root of my frustration, I realized that him sleeping in had nothing to do with his love for me. I forgave him for just being him and released him from meeting a need only God could fill
I asked God to forgive me.
A few days later, I went into our bedroom. I expected him to be up. He wasn’t. He had a train to catch; our daughter had to be at school early today. As I turned on the light, I felt that familiar twinge of injustice. I am still the first one getting up. I said nothing.
The Holy Spirit told me “Forgive”… Again?
This time it wasn’t my husband I needed to forgive; it was my parents. I remembered that in high school, I was always the first one up in my house. My father didn’t have to be to work until late in the morning, and my mom was a stayed-at-home. I remembered getting dressed and eating breakfast while everyone else slept. My mother would wake up just as I was leaving, still groggy and in her pajamas, she’d kiss me goodbye. My parents weren’t mean or negligent, but clearly, I was hurt. I hadn’t thought about it in years. God exposed a wound he wanted to heal.
I forgave yet again.
Sometimes the un-forgiveness that negatively affects our marriage has nothing to do with our spouse. << click to tweet
Forgiveness in marriage means forgiving your spouse over and over. Jesus said, “up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Mt 8:22) But, it also means forgiving others who have hurt us, so that our relationship with our spouse can flourish. My husband may never be an “early-bird” but it bothers me less and less, the more I choose to forgive.
Are you facing something in your marriage that can benefit from forgiveness?