The Key to a Lasting Marriage
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Do you remember the Energizer Bunny? He was the mascot and marketing icon for Energizer Batteries. That little rabbit beat a bass drum … and he never stopped. He just kept going and going and going.
Wouldn’t it be nice if marriages were like that? Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you tied the knot, it wasn’t a slipknot? The sad truth is that tons of marriages don’t seem to last as long as an Energizer Battery.
I performed a wedding one time for a marriage that ended up lasting only four months. Four Months! I was shocked and dismayed. The couple went through nine weeks of premarital counseling and still trashed their wedding vows after four short months. Now, whenever I do a wedding, I have the couple repeat after me, “Divorce is not an option.” As Ruth Graham once said, “I never considered divorcing Billy, but I did think of murdering him.” She was obviously kidding about the latter.
WHAT IS THE KEY?
Without question, if you want to have a good and lasting marriage, one that keeps going and going and going, getting better and better as time marches on, there is one big requirement. It is the “F” word – forgiveness.
What is the source of all the problems in marriage? It is simple. Guys, you married a sinner. And she married a bigger one! When you get two sinners together, there will be fireworks, disagreements, hurt feelings and the need to seek forgiveness and grant forgiveness.
1. Seek Forgiveness. When you do something dumb, selfish and hurtful, be quick to take full responsibility and humbly and genuinely apologize. Don’t go to bed until you make right those things you made wrong. A good maxim to live by in your relationship with the Lord and your spouse: “When you mess up, fess up.” Spit on your pride and your rights and be quick to seek forgiveness for your sins and failures.
2. Grant Forgiveness. When your feelings have been hurt, don’t hold on to the hurt. Let it go. Even if your spouse does not seek forgiveness, grant it to him/her. Every hurt eventually turns to anger. And unresolved anger turns to bitterness and resentment, two poisonous snakes that inject their venom into the marriage until the love is dead and an icy cold fills the once happy home. God’s Word is clear, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Talk through problems, hurts and issues in the marriage. Don’t let molehills turn into mountains. Give your hurts to God and refuse to live in unforgiveness.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.