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From the level ground of the cross, I asked Lucia to forgive me for my lack of proper biblical leadership. She granted me forgiveness and promptly asked me to forgive her for her anger toward me. This exchange was not “Christian-speak” because we were weary of each other. It was God-empowered, transactional forgiveness.
I forgave her gladly, as I appealed to her to help me lead her more effectively. I told her that she could freely speak into my life and bring caring and corrective observations that would help me glorify God more practically, as well as lead and love her in a way that would honor her.
We continued our conversation by saying if there were any sins that we could remember from our pasts that “love could not cover (1 Peter 4:8), we would ask for forgiveness. After our agreement about how to handle our past sins, we promised God and each other that we would live in the freedom of a forgiven past.
Neither one of us was willing to go on a sin hunt. It was not necessary. God, in His loving and kind mercy to us, brought us to a place of authentic brokenness before Him and each other. It was less about our sins and more about our mutual brokenness.
No fear motivated us to hide our past sins even though it was not necessary to talk about all of them. If there was something that we could not get over, we did discuss it. Forgiven people can talk about their past failures with each other because the gospel takes the sting out of their sins.
Today, we have a “confessional marriage.” When we sin against each other, we confess that sin to God and each other and ask both for forgiveness. This new gospel-empowered way of working through sin opened many new vistas in our relationship. We are different people today. Here are a few examples.
This new life together did not come easy. Our sins against each other were severe, extensive, and memorable. The path to change did not start by looking at each other’s failures. The journey began with two people agreeing to fall before the cross of Christ, seeking personal forgiveness without giving thought to the other spouse.
I do not know where your marriage is today. If it’s in a bad place, the first step is to address how you have failed the marriage. If your first call to action is to talk about your spouse, you will never have the marriage you desire.
Perhaps your spouse refuses to change. It is possible that you will be the only person desiring to change. If that is true for you, it would be imperative for you to begin making those changes. Even if your spouse never chooses to change, you can be a Christlike person. The only individual that you have the power to change is you.
Regardless of what your spouse does, you begin today. If you can share this article with your spouse, please do that. There are also three other linked articles embedded. Please share those together if you can. But, minimally, you ask the Father to help you change today.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).