About a year and a half ago my son in law asked for my permission to marry my daughter to which I gave my blessing. Then a few months before their wedding my daughter ask me to do a ceremonial reading. At first I was excited, elated, honored and thrilled that my daughter actually wanted me to participated in the wedding in this way. After the initial shock wore of I started to contemplate what could I say that would be a blessing to both my daughter and her future husband. The more I thought about it the important it became. I want to give them something that would be of value to them and that they would remember. I didn’t want to say I wish you well and you have my blessing. That seemed shallow and inadequate for the occasion.
I decided to give them the benefit of my experience after thirty four years of marriage. I wanted to encapsulate the experience and knowledge I had acquired in thirty four years into five minutes. I realized that was practically impossible. However I new if I could find a way to do this it would be a benefit to them.
I wanted to tell them that yes it can be better after thirty-four years than it was thirty-three years ago. I wanted to tell them that they could be more in love, more passionate, more grateful, more thankful, more intimate, more committed than they are now at the beginning of their marriage. I wanted to tell them that at thirty-four years your only have way through your marriage. You should have greater expectations for your marriage after thirty-four years than you did at the altar. I could have said all of that, I could have told them how much I loved my wife and I could have told them all the wonderful things that she means to me but would that really have bless them? It would have been nice for them to hear that a marriage like that existed and was possible for them but it wouldn’t have been something they could look at and gained value from. I could have told them all of that but that would not be the standard that they needed in order for them to have a successful marriage. So I wondered, is there a standard to which I could point to that they would always have before them that would always be true and always be a blessing.
We’ve all heard about what makes a good marriage work. Things like respect, caring for one another, communication, sex and love. These things and so many others are components of a good marriage yet not any of these can be said to be a standard. At some time in your marriage you will not exhibit some of the components of a great marriage. Yet it does not mean that you are not where you need to be. All marriages have dead zones, times when things are just OK or lousy. There will also be times when everything is great. And there will be times when a component of a good marriage is missing. All of these things are true so none of the components of marriage can be held up as a standard except for one.
The single most important aspect of a great marriage is forgiveness. Some might think it is love, sex, communication, respect, or intimacy yet none of those components of marriage can do what forgiveness does. You might say that love is the most important aspect of a good marriage but society is littered with relationships that end with one partner saying I love them but I can’t live with them. You might say that communications is more important. There are many relationships that have communicated themselves into divorce. We have all heard of relationship where one partner wants sex more than the other. For every situation in any marriage the resolution begins with forgiveness. If you cannot forgive your mate for their faults and trespasses you will not ever achieve a good marriage.
Without forgiveness your marriage will not survive. Virtually every reason for getting a divorce comes down to unforgiveness.
There is no way you can coexist with some one you can’t forgive. Their very presence would eventually drive you crazy.
Is forgiveness that important?
Look at this:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God loved the world so much, that he had to sacrifice his son for our forgiveness. His love was not enough to give us salvation on its own. That is an awesome realization, even the depth of Gods love was not enough to save us. God loves humanity but he will not accept those who he cannot forgive.
To be accepted we first had to be forgiven. Those that choose to reject Christ will not be invited into heaven. Those that reject the payment that Christ made for them will not be forgiven. God cannot accept the unforgiven. Even though he loved us enough to allow his son to die for us we still need to be forgiven. Our relationship with God is based on forgiveness not on love. Everything comes after forgiveness.
If our relationship with God the most important relationship we can have, is based on forgiveness. What should our human relationships be based on?
Its like having a child, you will always love them but if they get into a situation that is harmful to them or you and it is caused by them, you can’t hold on to them. Like a drug addict, they have parents brothers, sister, family. But as long as they persist in there addiction you can’t be with them or they will destroy themselves and you with them. Same with God, he will still love you but he will not allow you in his presence.
In marriage you may have one or all the components of a great marriage. But if you can’t forgive your mate for leaving the cap off the tooth paste you might as well forget it your marriage will not survive. That’s silly you might say, and yes it is but what makes you think you can forgive something significant when you can’t forgive something insignificant.
If you think love will be enough, God loved us a yet he sacrificed his son for us. Love is not enough.
If your goal is to have a great marriage you must learn to forgive.
The standard will always be forgiveness.