In your mind’s eye, picture a newlywed couple in the first flush of love. Imagine asking them, “What’s going to be the key to making your marriage great?”

They might say it’s all about being great friends. Or great lovers, maybe? Or, looking further ahead, they might think the secret lies in being great parents.

Without a doubt, all those things are important. But there’s one key to a thriving marriage that’s often overlooked… A great marriage depends on the man and wife being great forgivers.

The Bible has much to say about forgiveness. And in marriage, it’s absolutely fundamental—for three reasons. 

1. Forgiveness is God’s command 

As we pray so easily in the Lord’s prayer, God’s forgiveness of you and me hinges on our forgiveness of others. And in the verses that follow in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus spells it out even more clearly:

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14–15) 

If you think that’s a hard teaching, turn over a few pages to Matthew chapter 18, and meditate on the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23–35). When you realize afresh how much you’ve been forgiven, His grace will empower you to forgive others.

 2. Forgiveness is in God’s character

Forgiveness is at the very heart of who God is. Right from the start, the whole sweep of history has revealed God’s great plan of salvation—as sinful, rebellious people receive His wonderful forgiveness.

“If… My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will… forgive their sin….” (2 Chronicles 7:13–14)

Our God is a God of forgiveness—and you and I are called to be like Him!

3. Forgiveness shows God’s care for you

The calling to forgive can be incredibly hard, but it’s for your good. Because the alternative, unforgiveness, will eat you up. It’s like a boomerang. You throw it out at someone, but you find it only spins back around and hits you instead.

So pursue God’s call to forgive, confident that He wants what’s best for you!

Yes, being a great forgiver is the secret to building a flourishing marriage. So remember—God commands you to mirror His character as you follow His command to forgive because He cares for you.

Now pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to put it into practice!

Discover more about walking in the proven truth of God’s Word in your marriage with my book The 10 Commandments of Marriage.

It’s full of biblical insight and practical applications to help you revive a struggling marriage or make a great relationship even stronger, and it comes as thanks for your support today to help reach more people with proven truth from God’s Word.

 

Additional articles:

Dr. Ed Young signature