(This is the third post in the “How to Grow as a Husband” series. You can read the first two posts here .and here.) When two people live together in the covenant of marriage, they will inevitably irritate, offend, and hurt each other. No union of two sinners, even redeemed sinners, exists where this does not happen. The husband must answer two simple questions. Will I acknowledge when I am wrong and seek forgiveness? And will I quickly forgive when I am wronged?
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Be Quick to Seek Forgiveness
Men you will hurt your wives. Sometimes this happens through careless and thoughtless words, but unfortunately there will be times where the hurt happens with forethought. I spoke of this briefly in the last post about kindness, but we need to spend a little more time on it in this post. Accept responsibility for your actions, not seeking to make excuses or paint them in a different light than they deserve to be in. When you wrong your wife in word or deed the responsibility is your’s alone and you should own up to it.
The last thing I want to do is to give you a script for apologizing, but there are proper and improper ways to apologize. First of all, do not say “I’m sorry.” Too often the words “it’s okay” are spoken in response to this and dealing with the offense gets kicked down the road a little farther. Also do not say “I’m sorry if…” The responsibility for your actions does not lie in the reaction of your wife to what you said. If you were wrong, the responsibility belongs to you. (If your wife was wrong in whatever happened, she should apologize as well, but the goal of this post is not for you to figure out how to get your wife to admit her guilt. It’s about you dealing with what you did.)
“I was wrong when I _________, will you forgive me?” Your apology should look like this. Acknowledge where you were wrong and be specific since your goal is reconciliation and not smoothing over your conscience. This also reminds you that your sin is not just against your wife, but also against the Lord. Admitting your sin to your wife moves you down the path to genuine reconciliation.
Some Questions to Consider
Are you quick to admit when you are wrong?
Do you take the initiative to reconcile with your wife when you are wrong?
Do you name your sin or are you vague about it?
Do you take full responsibility for your sin against your wife or do you try to blame it on her?