One Million Apologies
By: Amanda Idleman
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” - Ephesians 4:32
Here's the trouble with marriage: if you're lucky, it sticks for life. Do you know how many times you have to say sorry to the same person in order to stay connected over a lifetime? A lot of times.
The struggle is that those “sorry’s” become harder to say and even harder to accept. Our mindset becomes jaded and we say we’ve heard this all before, maybe even just last week! We begin to doubt one another. We start to assume the struggle to overcome our sinful nature is a sign we don’t deserve to be loved or respected by our spouses. We jump straight to the idea that our spouses are just going to make the same mistakes again before even giving them a chance to prove otherwise. Bitterness begins to form in lieu of forgiveness.
Meanwhile, don't you wish in earnest you could promise your spouse you’ll never again do the thing that already sent them over the edge multiple times just this month? We all do. We all so badly want to get it all right and not make the same mistake again. We hope to stop shutting down in the same old predictable ways.
For most of us, it takes time, prayer, practice, and more than anything else, the power of the Holy Spirit to see true change in our lives. People are stubborn; we don’t quite get it the first time we mess something up. It’s important that we are willing to offer our spouses kindness and allow them the grace to grow in the areas that they may fail.
The truth is we will never reach a point where we get it all right. Marriage is a beautiful gift from God joining two very imperfect people. We have to always keep working at it. Keep inviting the Holy Spirit into the imperfect spaces in your life. Allow the Spirit to give you what you need to grow past whatever is your current struggle.
The longevity of marriage is our opportunity to practice what Paul instructs us to do as believers in Ephesians. We are to take the opposite approach to bitterness and continue to offer each other the gracious forgiveness that Jesus models.
Apologies will never stop being needed in a committed relationship. Even more than that, keep on forgiving. Jesus said we should forgive endlessly, and he surely had marriage in mind when he gave that advice. It’s not easy, but making a life together means a million apologies and a million and one times to forgive!
Amanda Idleman is a wife, homeschooling Momma to three amazing kids and is passionate about encouraging others to live joyfully. Amanda also loves to write as a freelance writer and on her blog (when she finds a spare moment for it). You can find out more about Amanda at her blog rvahouseofjoy.wordpress.com or follow her on Instagram at rvahouseofjoy.
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Originally published Monday, 04 September 2023.