Solutions June 2016 - Page 52

DEAL WITH FAILURE In a healthy marriage, the couple will deal honestly with their failures. Since Adam and Eve, failure is a part of the human experience. Even when I know I should be kind, I sometimes am unkind. Even when I know l should control my anger, I sometimes lose control. Having a healthy marriage does not demand perfection. Nevertheless, healthy marriages do require us to be honest about our failures. The biblical pattern for responding to failure is confession and forgiveness. In our relationship with God, we are instructed, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1John 1:9). The same paradigm applies to the marital relationship. Paul writes, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16). A clear conscience toward God is obtained by confessing our sins to God; a clear conscience toward man is obtained when I confess my sins to the person I sinned against. In marriage, that is often my spouse. When I am unwilling to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong,” I allow my sin to become a block in a wall between the two of us. A few unconfessed sins and the wall gets higher. In a healthy marriage we do not allow walls to build between us. The biblical response to confession is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a decision to lift the penalty and receive the spouse back 52 SMG Solutions into warm fellowship. If the spouse’s sin has hurt us deeply, we may continue to cry even after choosing to forgive. When memory of their action comes to mind, we may again feel the pain. But having chosen to forgive, we say to God, “Lord, you know what I’m feeling. But I thank you that it’s forgiven. Guide me as I do something good with my life today.” Affirming forgiveness and committing ourselves to loving actions brings eventual healing to the hurt. In a healthy marriage, confession and forgiveness will be practiced whenever needed. SEE THE HIGHER PURPOSE I also believe that in a healthy marriage, the couple will view their marriage not as an end in itself, but as a means to help each of them accomplish God’s purposes for their lives. Thus, their marriage supports their ministry to the larger community. God has gifted every Christian and placed him in a strategic place in His body. God also ordained marriage. It is God’s gift to help us more effectively accomplish His goals in our lives. In a healthy marriage, the couple understands that each of them belongs to the larger body of Christ. When they minister to each other and build a Christian marriage, they are ministering to the whole body by providing a model for other marriages. Their larger ministry is an overflow of their ministry to each other. When they are meeting each other’s needs and are experiencing the joy