Healing Marital Hurts

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What is your course of action when you realize you have hurt your spouse through your words and actions?

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, . . . forgiving one another. Ephesians 4:31-32

As I (David) have worked through the forgiveness process in my relation­ship with Teresa, I have discovered several significant issues.

First, hurting Teresa also hurts God. God calls it sin when I say dis­respectful or demeaning words to Teresa. When I display an unloving attitude or am impatient with Teresa, God says I have sinned against Him and need His forgiveness. It is sobering to realize that my sinful words and behavior toward Teresa are part of why Christ died for me.

Secondly, hurting Teresa saddens God. God feels deep sadness when His precious child feels abandoned because I have failed to make her my top earthly priority. He feels compassion when He sees her disappointment over my broken promises.

As I have reflected on what my sin does to God's heart, it has pro­duced in me a measure of godly sorrow. It's that godly sorrow that produces change within me.

I've discovered that saying "I was wrong" is much better than saying "I am sorry" Saying the word wrong conveys more personal responsibility, remorse, and repentance. The word confess means "to agree with God," and God says my disrespect and impatience are wrong.

Next, I must ask the question, "Will you forgive me?" This brings closure to the issue. The vulnerability it takes for me to ask this question demonstrates my humility, and it also challenges Teresa with her decision to forgive.

Lastly, Teresa and I have found that forgiveness is a choice, not a feel­ing. We are commanded to choose to put away anger, wrath, and bitterness, and forgive each other. Verbalizing our forgiveness by saying, "I forgive you" helps us seal the choice. This choice to forgive is what enables us to put away anger toward one another.

What is your course of action when you realize you have hurt your spouse through your words and actions?

Lord, lead us to seek Your forgiveness, then one another's forgiveness.

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