The Lost Art of Forgiveness – The Secret to a Successful Marriage
I climbed into bed really angry. I was upset with my wife, but trying not to show it. However, she knew and asked, “Honey, are you okay?”
“Of course,” I said, lying through my teeth, as I moved across to my side of the bed, which at that moment was a very lonely place.
How did I get to this place? Well, you see, it was all my wife’s fault.
It all started when my wife suggested that I could do some vacuuming for her. Being the good husband that I am, I said yes. The bedrooms needed a good going over and needed me, ‘the cleaning machine’.
I got halfway through the job when the battery died. How was I to know that the Dyson should have been put on low suction instead of full strength? (Shows how much vacuuming I’ve done since we bought it four years ago.)
So, I stopped for dinner and then got distracted by something else. Just before bedtime, my wife reminded me about the unfinished vacuuming.
The ‘cleaning machine’ burst into action again, carefully hoovering all the corners and moving furniture around to get the carpet spotless. It was now all about me, myself and I. We men take pride in our work. Sometimes too much pride, but that’s another story for another time.
Anyway, by the time I had finished the vacuuming and brushed my teeth, I was about to hop into bed when my wife said, “Why don’t you finish the job you started?”
“What do you mean?” I curiously enquired.
She briskly replied, “You need to empty the vacuum cleaner.”
I was dumbfounded. It was now way past our bedtime. I was trying to think of something smart to say like, “I don’t want to disturb the dust in the vacuum cleaner so late at night. It needs to sleep too.” That would have been a great line if I had thought of it at the time, but all I could think of was unprintable. Thankfully, I didn’t say anything, but I will tell you what I thought.
“How could you be so ungrateful for my sacrifice,” I thought. “I married you because you were nice. Right now, you are not being very nice! Now, you are trying to attack me personally, and that is after me staying up late to vacuum your *#*house.”
I truly was angry, but was trying to hide it under my respectable cool, calm, and collected husband persona.
They say you shouldn’t go to sleep mad with your wife, but that night I certainly broke that commandment. The next morning, we got up at 5:30 a.m. and went to the gym as we usually do. Afterwards, I came straight home and emptied that vacuum cleaner with great fervour.
I once asked a farming friend with nine children what the secret was to his good marriage. He told me that the key was a forgiving wife. I would suggest adding to that secret with a second – a forgiving husband. It takes two to tango!
Thankfully, we both forgave each other for our untoward behaviour and strode on to the next inevitable vexatious disagreement, and subsequent need for forgiveness.
Paul the apostle warned people that “those who marry will face many troubles in this life”. That’s the reality of marriage. Always has been and always will be.
Well, “I Do” are the two most famous last words The beginning of the end, But to lose your life for another, I’ve heard Is a good place to begin. Cause the only way to find your life Is to lay your own life down. And I believe that’s an easy price For the life that we have found.
This business of laying your life down is just so annoying. We always think that I am right, and she is wrong, at least during the conflict.
And that is why forgiveness is so important to relationships. Even if you married an angel, you would still think she was wrong in some area. Sadly, we humans project our own faults onto each other. As Pogo famously said, “I have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.”
“Practicing forgiveness can have powerful health benefits. Observational studies, and even some randomized trials, suggest that forgiveness is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility; reduced substance abuse; higher self-esteem; and greater life satisfaction.”
My farmer friend was right; forgiveness is the key to a successful marriage.
So, when you feel belittled by your wife, don’t be like me. Forgive and forget and move on past your own pride. The other side of the bed is too lonely a place to be.
What are you waiting for?
Start practising the lost art of forgiveness on your own wife and family. I am sure you will find plenty of opportunities amongst your family and friends.
Yours for learning forgiveness,
PS: I have a good indigenous friend, James Dargin, who has a passion to share the message of forgiveness with Australia and the world. James is an inspiration! He was sexually and physically abused as a child and has experienced racism, but he has forgiven the perpetrators. Watch his amazing story here.
Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker.
Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
Dads4Kids – Building Men. Growing Fathers. Changing Generations.