Forgiveness, in the life a Christian, is an on-going thing.
That is never truer in the course of a marriage. Spending years in such close 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 absolutely has to. During the week, he knows exactly how many minutes it takes him get ready and catch the train. One 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 his 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 and 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 children and pack my husband’s lunch. I felt like I had done a day’s worth of work all before my dear husband opened his eyes. I now he needed his sleep because he often worked long tedious hours – but so did I. I thought surely on the weekends it would be different. It wasn’t.
I forgave him.
As the kids got older, they grew more independent. I woke up early for different reasons. I no longer answered cries in the middle of the night so I tried to get 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 get up early, a little one wake 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 am a morning person and my husband is not.
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 people on TV did.
I got 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 experienced rejection. I had an expectation that if he loved me he would get up with me. I became aware of my issues that floated to the surface. 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.
The other morning when 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 was reminded 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 dresses 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?