Lots of forgiving
If you’ve read the very first 3 or 4 posts in this blog, you may be assuming that my wife & I had a near-perfect marriage from the beginning. Not so. We married as two people with slightly different value systems and different mindsets. Forgiving one another for offences played a huge part in getting us to where we are today.
(Where are we today after 47 years? A stressful minute is a rarity. As a matter of fact, we occasionally remind each other that each minute seems to be a minute of love, joy & peace.)
When I was first married, I was not given much advice. Fortunately my wife’s dad told me that saying “I’m sorry” is part of the lifestyle of happily married people.
The human brain factor
A psychiatrist once told me that the human brain is the most complex system in the universe. With all that complexity, you can expect it to short circuit once in a while. And it does, to all of us.
We all need to rewire our brain once in a while.
So, when your human brain short circuits and you do or say something hurtful, be very quick to say your sorry. You should each be very quick to forgive.
After all, the offence was most likely not caused by your spouse. It was caused by your spouse’s faulty wiring. And we all have faulty wiring!
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We all need to have something that tells us what is right & what is wrong. Otherwise, it is too hard to agree on things & get along with each other.
We decided to use the Bible to let us know what is right & wrong. It has stood the test of time. And it helps us to very quickly decide upon the proper course of action.
So, here’s a good passage: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
That says we should forgive & not hold bitterness. When you are bitter towards someone & holding a grudge, the main person being hurt is yourself. Negative emotions create unwanted chemical flows in the body. They are a health hazard.
So, being quick to forgive and not holding grudges does more than lead to a happier marriage. It’s also good for your health.
Give up or figure it out
When you are hurt by your spouse, you can give up & say you’ll never solve the problem. Alternately, you can collectively figure out a solution.
Just assume there is always a solution.
Here’s a trick my wife & I use for finding a solution:
- Read the Bible out loud together
- Pray out loud together.
It’s amazing how a combination of those 2 can solve just about every problem.
One last trick
Someone who counselled married couples used this advise: When one spouse senses that there is tension in the air, he/she says, “Stress break.” At that point they must kneel facing each other holding hands. Then they pray in tongues for 3 minutes.
The counsellor said that often after 3 minutes, the forgiving process has taken place and they often cannot remember what the offence was.