How Offering Forgiveness Transforms Your Marriage

I wish Lisa didn't have so many opportunities to forgive me over the years. Oh, we trade places sometimes, but when it comes to needing forgiveness, there are a lot more entries in my ledger than in hers. Take this morning. We're all sitting around the fireplace talking of various things and I said something that was offensive to her (I can't help it, I'm just gifted that way). I needed to ask for forgiveness ... and she gave it freely, which is kind of a miracle because as she willingly admits, being a quick forgiver is not her forté!

And, it's been a great day because we don't want to waste time being put out or offended. Life is so short.

Ruth Graham had it right when she said, "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." Frankly, it's essential if you are going to enjoy a highly fulfilling marriage.

There's probably no other relationship where the need for forgiveness presents itself more often.

But, it's not natural to forgive someone who has hurt you. It's not very smart, either – humanly speaking. Why trust that person again? You're only giving him something he can hurt you with. And he (she) will hurt you again. You have proof of that.

What's your proof? THE LIST!

Have you been compiling a list ... The List of grievances your spouse has committed? Mere paper cuts or major-league betrayals – doesn't much matter because they're all on The List.

And, it's not an invented list.

You're not simply being touchy. These are real offenses, real cuts – actual insults. What are you doing with those? Packing them around? Referencing them. Thinking about how much you've been hurt?

Although The List of Grievances provides the "proof" that you are right, The List is not your friend. In fact, it is the enemy of your fulfillment in marriage and in life. The List will take you to the valley of emptiness and bitterness and leave you there unless you learn the Habit of Offering Forgiveness.

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