As I reviewed the list of problems that Michelle had with her husband Scott I only had one thing on my mind. How can I convince Michelle that none of these problems will ever happen again? I can teach Scott. Training men to be husbands is not a problem for me. As I reviewed the list again and again looking for an angle, searching for a place to start I noticed that a majority of the issues took place before Michelle and Scott were married. They have been married for 6 years! She has been holding on to these issues for six or more years? WOW! I immediately called Michelle and let her know that when you get married, you start over. You wipe the slate clean. You can’t bring anything outside of the marriage into the marriage.
Hello Michelle this is Steven James Dixon. Is this a good time to talk?
I am reviewing your list here and noticed that you have 54 items. Please hear me out when I say that having 54 complaints about your husband is too many complaints. Many of your complaints are extremely valid and are things that I will discuss in detail with your husband but some I feel are a bit nitpicky. (I say this in the most sensitive tone that I can.)
“He did those things to me. You can’t take that from me. They all hurt, I remember them all and I am not forgiving him for doing those things to me.”
Michelle, you have to forgive him. In marriage, forgiveness is not an option. When you agreed to marry him, what you did was say to him, “I love you enough that I am confident that when you make a mistake I can forgive you and we will work through the problem.” You did not believe that he was perfect when you married him did you?
“No, I didn’t think he was perfect.”
If you knowingly married an imperfect person then you also knew that person would make mistakes. When you say, “I DO,” what you are really saying is, “I DO LOVE YOU ENOUGH TO FORGIVE YOU FOR YOUR MISTAKES.” If you don’t love a person enough to forgive them then you should not marry that person. We all make mistakes. We all will need our partner’s forgiveness. Now depending on what your partner does wrong, he or she may need to get counseling and re-commit to the marriage but not being able to forgive in marriage is unacceptable. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a decision. You won’t wake up tomorrow and feel like forgiving him. It is your obligation as a spouse to forgive once your spouse has met a certain criteria to earn your forgiveness. Now you can set the criteria that will be necessary for you to feel comfortable but that criteria must be realistic and achievable. You don’t have to forgive Scott today. Forgiveness is not automatic, it is definitely earned. Scott has got some apologizing to do and some learning to do and then he can get to earning.
“I don’t think I can do that, why should I do that? You are giving him a free pass!!!” (She says this angrily.)
No you gave him a free pass when you married him. I believe that all spouses can be forgiven for anything if they show remorse, agree to get counseling and agree to recommit themselves to their marriage. Next week we will discuss if Scott has met that criteria.