This is a guest post by my wife Christina Dodson. You can follow her on twitter by clicking here.
Prior to getting married one of the most typical cliché things I would hear about marriage was: “marriage is all about trust.”
But what does that even mean? Trust our spouse to remain faithful?
Jesus says in Matthew 5:28,
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
adultery with her in his heart.
If faithfulness means not even looking at someone lustfully, I think it’s safe to say we are all unfaithful- men and women alike. So what about trust is marriage all about?
Trust our spouse not to make us angry? Trust our spouse to always do what they say they will? Trust our spouse never to hurt us? If we place our trust in these things we will surely be disappointed.
So how can marriage be all about trust? And if it is, what a broken system marriage must be. No, marriage isn’t all about trusting our spouse. Marriage is about forgiving our spouse.
In May I will have been married three years to my wonderful husband, Dylan. And I have learned that forgiveness is so important in marriage. It is so easy to just stay mad at Dylan when he hurts me. And yet it is oh so easy to expect him to forgive me when I hurt him (funny how that works). When he gets upset with me for raising my voice with him or forgetting to do something he has asked me to do my first reaction is: “Sorry! But give me a break- I am going to mess up sometimes.”
But what I often forget is that he is going to mess up too. I am imperfect and sinful. I need grace. I need forgiveness. And so does he.
Forgiveness can be challenging because it has to take place in our hearts and not just in our actions. I have learned that the best first step for me to take toward forgiving my husband, or anyone for that matter, is being aware of my own need for forgiveness. Once I remind myself of that, I pray. I pray to God and thank him for forgiving me and ask for his help in forgiving others.
When we forgive, we are following God’s example and we bring glory to God. Marriage can be a beautiful partnership and a glorious union that radiates Christ, but not without forgiveness. So remember to forgive, just as you have been forgiven.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.