I never knew I had a hard time forgiving people till I got married. My husband has a knack for upsetting me, and though some of the issues are petty, I always have a hard time letting go. I always want to get back at him- I give him the silent treatment and do all sorts. He’s quite good natured and often just ignores me. I know it’s wrong and I can see it’s beginning to tell on my marriage, the level of our intimacy is continually dwindling. I know I need help.
Constance O.

Dear Constance,
Your husband’s tendency to upset you is not the issue, because as expected, his personality differences clash with yours. You need to deal with your tendency to hold on to hurt, acknowledging it as the vice that it is, don’t sugarcoat it or blame your husband for it. Deal with it!
It often seems easier to hold on to hurt than it is to forgive. But that is so untrue; it’s a lie of the enemy of our soul. Forgiveness is extending grace to others, even when they do not deserve it. Every heart has the capacity to be gracious, including yours.

Unforgiveness will only limit your relationship, as you have observed. There are certain levels of intimacy you will never reach, if you do not learn to extend grace in your relationship. Unforgiveness makes openness and trust difficult, because your spouse would be wary of your response, and would rather keep to himself than risk getting you upset. Unforgiveness will stifle communication and make it hard for your spouse to be himself around you.
You can forgive, my dear. Stop thinking that it is difficult; change your thoughts about it. Forgiveness is much more for your good than your husband’s. It frees you of unnecessary weight and makes it possible for you to be the generous lover God has made you to be.
So, make up your mind to be forgiving. Ask God for help and obey him instantly when he prompts you to forgive. Even when you stray at times, don’t dwell there, find your way back to the place of grace. Ask God to forgive you, and as you believe that he has forgiven you, also believe in his grace made available for you to forgive.
You can forgive! And you will, because you are the daughter of the Most Gracious Father of all the earth, who loves us all despite our inadequacies. You are made to be like Him! Remember this always!

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