A healthy marriage is not defined by the absence of conflict. No two people think, feel and respond to life in exactly the same way, and that means every marriage will face conflict. Thus, a healthy marriage is one that faces the inevitable conflicts in a healthy way. One of the most important components of healthy conflict resolution is the willingness and readiness to forgive each other. There’s no such thing as a sustained healthy relationship without forgiveness. There is such a thing as a toxic relationship where two people refuse to forgive each other, but there’s no such thing as a healthy functional relationship without forgiveness. Every individual involved in a marriage (yes, every individual) will encounter the need to forgive. Each partner is guaranteed the experience various moments of wounding, breakage of trust, and disappointment in their spouse. When these inevitable events occur, forgiveness is the only way we heal and move beyond the wounding.
This week my wife, Aleta, and I celebrate 21 years of marriage! We’re both so proud of what God has rendered in our relationship, but we’re both very aware of the fact that one of the key reasons we’re still standing strong after 21 years is because of our commitment to forgive. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Aleta and I have found over and over, the necessity of a commitment to forgive and reconcile if we want to have a thriving marriage.