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Not just for the marriage but for how it impacts all of their other relationships, starting with their children.
The modeling and practicing of repentance in the home are at the top of the list of what couples should be doing. And if they are not doing this well, their marriage can only take a limp along the “Bandaid approach” while accelerating the accumulative frustration that leftover/hungover sinning does to a couple.
There is no way to circumvent the hard and humble way of going to your spouse, confessing your sin, asking for forgiveness, and for that spouse to have a similar kind of humility, which is exemplified by granting forgiveness to the offender.
And from that good starting point, they will know if the hatchet has been authentically buried if they can talk about what happened in non-punitive ways. (There is no reason for a Christian couple to not do this, but I suspect the overwhelming majority of those who name the name of Christ do not do this in their marriages.)
But it gets better: After they have declared the sin nailed to Jesus’ cross, they can start doing the grace-empowered work of working through what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to keep from repeating the offense.
Where else in God’s world can the offender and the offended collaborate in the sanctification of the offender and the ongoing restorative development of their marriage? This is a stunning turn of events for fallen people.
And it’s one of the best-kept secrets in Christian families and the local churches they attend.
If you are a practitioner of full repentance, keep on digging into the process of practicing repentance. It’s free. Don’t ever let up. Refine it. Make it reflexive repentance: As soon as you sin, you name it/claim it, and your spouse reflexes in a similar way by granting repentance. That’s growth. That’s one of those shiny facets of our amazing gospel.
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).