Marriage isn’t easy. We’re all married to imperfect people. Our spouse is married to an imperfect person. None of us will be perfect until we receive our glorified bodies after we die. I know a woman who has had a difficult marriage. She told me that she endures by simply pouring grace and forgiveness upon him. He’s changing. When a husband is faced with a loving and forgiving wife who is filled with grace towards him, it’s hard for him to continue to bad behavior. (If a woman is in a destructive marriage, please seek help.)
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” (1 Peter 3:1,2)
Even if we aren’t in difficult marriages, we must learn to be forgiving and merciful towards our husbands, since they’ll offend us, hurt us, and cause us to be angry at times, just as we do towards them. Not forgiving your spouse leads to bitterness which defiles many (Hebrews 12:15). Bitterness is like a cancerous tumor that grows and grows and poisons the one who is bitter. Learn to forgive easily; for love is not easily offended.
John MacArthur preached a great sermon on this topic many years ago. Here is a snippet of his sermon:
“Offenses against you are your trials. Listen carefully, and by those trials what is God doing? Perfecting you. ‘Count it all joy, brethren, when you fall into various trials because the trying of your faith has a perfect work’ (James 1:2). ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you’ (1Peter 5:10); just an absolutely magnificent portion of Scripture. The Apostle Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh, his distress, insult, persecution, difficulties and he says, ‘I am content with all of them because when I’m weak then I’m…what?…strong.’ His power is perfected in my weakness. His grace is made sufficient in my infirmities.
“Let me tell you something. You may think you have a difficult marriage. You may think you have a difficult situation, young people with your parents. You may think you have conflict in the home. Let me tell you this, your offenses, the offenses against you are the very trials which God will use to make you like His Son. Don’t run from them. Criticisms, injustices, offenses, persecutions, and mistreatments are for the purpose of your spiritual maturity. Don’t run from that process. Stay in it, stay in it. Even if your whole life long you realize that maybe, maybe I could have found somebody else who would have made my life happier, if you respond to the stress and the difficulty appropriately, those trials will make you like Christ, and that’s the noblest goal of all.
“Be little concerned about your personal injuries and much concerned about your personal holiness. Remember that in your trials, God is at work making you strong and holy.
“When all is said and done, what keeps a relationship together is forgiveness, because we’re going to fail, we’re going to offend, we’re going to wound, and we’re going to hurt. But where there is instant and comprehensive and constant forgiveness, the relationship stays together. And God is honored and blessing is poured out.”
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.