Be Quick to Forgive and Even Quicker to Forget
A few quick tips on handling conflict in marriage:
While we were writing our initial list of the “12 Things We Learned our First Year of Marriage” (check out that blog), Bruce interjected a key principle, “Be Quick to Forgive and Even Quicker to Forget.” With wide eyes, I yelled out “YES, That’s a GOOOOOD One!” Over the last year, Bruce and I rarely had any serious arguments. We actually on had about 3-4 that I can remember. In fact, I can’t really call them arguments, because they were more like “disagreements.” Some may say, well that’s because of this or that, but I know a reason why we had very limited disagreements. Before we married during our pre-marital counseling we decide how we would deal with conflict in our marriage.
Being the woman that I am, I decided to write this blog, because I found that I was often the one who would have to do the forgiving. Bruce laughs about this:) This was because my emotions would take over and I would get upset and sometimes wrongly misinterpret things communicated to me by my husband. We often found after we slowed down and talked about the subject at hand we could come to a better understanding of each other’s point of view.
But what do you do if you get hurt in a disagreement? How do you handle all of those feelings? Should you walk away?
I will share what we agreed to in pre-marital counseling and have been practicing ever since:
1. We have a “Bench” in our home. We were instructed by our counseling Pastors to buy a bench and place it in our first home. The bench is a “place of reconciliation”. Now this bench is to only be sat on when there is a conflict in our marriage. When Bruce or I get upset about something, we are to stop what we are doing and go to the bench. Once the other spouse sees their husband/or wife on the bench, they are to join them immediately. The spouse that went to the bench first then proceeds to explain to their spouse how they feel and then vice versa. The married couple is not to leave the bench until the issue is resolved. This may sound crazy, but it actually works!! What we found is that we both did not want to hurt each other. We also found that we were able to calmly express how we felt, and keep our ears open to hear our spouses feelings also. Finally, we found that our hearts were open to each other while on the bench because we both ultimately wanted to “reconcile.” Keep in mind, that the bench is to be small so that while you are sitting, you are close to one another:)
Okay so I hear you now, “What happens if you have a disagreement and your not home.” If we were not at home, and we had a disagreement. I would say “Bruce I am on the bench.” Immediately, he knew what that meant and we would take time to handle the issue at hand.
“Our Reconciliation Bench”
2. Once you discuss the issue, be sure to ask each other for forgiveness. For example, “If I hurt you the way I said that, please forgive me.” or “If I hurt you in anyway, please forgive me.” This will go along way in your marriage. I often say, forgive before you feel it. Even if you are still feeling upset, take the time to verbally forgive your spouse, the emotions will soon subside.
3. After you forgive, be quick to forget! Once you have forgiven your spouse commit in your heart that you will be like God and “Blot out the transgressions” of your spouse. Decide that you will not bring up past conflicts or hurts again. This will only bring forth negative results.
Few Quick Tips on Handling Conflict:
1. Never go to sleep angry (Ephesians 4:26)
2. Never walk out of the house on your spouse in the middle of a conflict, deal with it then get some fresh air, if needed:)
3. Be Slow to anger, quick to listen, slow to speak…(James 1:19)
Here a few scriptures on forgiveness:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
I pray this blog will help you as continue on your journey in marriage.
Be sure to share your thoughts on the blog. Also please share blog with others:)
What do you think about the “bench?”
With Love and Blessings,