Here are five reasons you must forgive your spouse.
Because We’re Commanded To
The Apostle Paul reminds us to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Since we’ve been forgiven infinitely more than others could ever sin against us, we should feel compelled to forgive others. As Paul said, “Be angry and sin not” and “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26).
Because We’ve Been Forgiven So Much
In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Jesus tells us that the debt which we’ve been forgiven is so much greater than any debt that stands against us. This parable is found in Matthew 18:21-35. The fact that this parable is so long shows us the importance to Christ that we must forgive one another because our debt before God is greater than any debt another could have against us.
King Solomon tells us that “good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11), so we should be “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13). Isn’t that enough reason by itself?
It Is Liberating
When the Jews were freed from their prisons during World War II, one Jew in particular wanted to seek out the Nazis who imprisoned him; but it wasn’t to get revenge. He wanted to forgive them; and when he did, he felt more liberated than when he was freed from the concentration camp. The Apostle Paul tells us to “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). A spouse will not likely do something so evil as this, but the principle is the same: “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17).
Better to Suffer for Good Than Evil
The Corinthians had taken one another to court over something that was probably trivial, so the Apostle Paul rebuked them over this, writing, “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded” (1 Corinthians 6:7). Is it worth it to win an argument but lose your spouse? I believe the principle is the same: It’s better to suffer loss than to win and yet lose in the end, if you know what I mean.
God commands us to not harbor a grudge but to be forgiving of one another since we’ve been forgiven and that our debt before God is greater than any that is against us. We should overlook the faults of one another; and if we look in the mirror, we can see why. But forgiving our spouse is liberating, whether they deserve it or not. Finally, it’s better to suffer for doing good than to win an argument and be right yet lose a relationship.