How to Forgive Your Husband - Why forgiveness is important for a healthy relationship

For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:14-15 (AMP)


There has recently been an increase in studies related to the area of forgiveness in a marriage relationship. Psychologists and doctors are (unsurprisingly) finding that forgiveness is one of the most crucial components of a healthy marriage.


As for me, forgiveness is not something that comes easily. When my husband hurts me, (whether he meant to or not) the last thing on my mind is forgiveness. I'd rather hurt him back, call him names, ignore him for several days, or at the very least, nag him for weeks about his treatment towards me. Instead of forgiving, I usually end up holding a huge grudge or resentment instead in order to "guard myself."


The problem is, holding onto anger is not the best way to guard ourselves. We believe that our anger will somehow show the other person how much they hurt us. But the problem is, holding on to resentment or anger does nothing except drive a wedge even further in our marriage.


When we are resentful towards our husbands, they can feel it. They begin to wonder why. They start to feel uncared about or unloved. Then, they become resentful towards us. The cycle continues until both spouses are wondering how their relationship got so bad. They can't even remember the initial issue.


This is how many relationships fail. Over the years, resentment builds until both parties are extremely unhappy. Forgiveness is not often practiced and the relationship crumbles.


This is why Jesus tells us to let that anger and resentment go. He says in Matthew 6 (the famous sermon on the mount):

For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:14-15 (AMP)

It is interesting how the AMP words these verses. Notice the part where it says, "Reckless and willful sins." Are we really supposed to forgive willful sins toward us?? Yes! That means that even if my husband acts maliciously, I am supposed to forgive him every single time. It doesn't matter if he asks for forgiveness or not.


Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. Sin is defined as disobedience to God. Every one of us disobeys God. But even though we disobey God and rebel against Him, He still chose to forgive us by sending Jesus. If we have that kind of forgiveness from our loving God, certainly we can show our spouses forgiveness when they do hurtful things to us.


(Note: This is not to say that we can't set boundaries in relationships, or that we continue to live in abusive relationships. I am not saying that. Physically harmful relationships are not biblical and we have the right to remove ourselves from those situations. But once we do, we are still called to forgive.)


The fact is, if you are married, you will get hurt at some point or another. Our spouses aren't perfect, and neither are we. We are all human. They will hurt us, and let's be honest, we will hurt them too, whether we meant to or not. That's just a part of life because we are all living in a sin-filled world. What we do about it is what matters. We can choose to forgive and take the necessary steps to mend our relationships, or we can choose to let resentment build until our relationships either suck or are completely ruined.

My husband and I

If we choose the former, here are a few steps we can take to begin to forgive our spouse:


Remem