As in every human situation, since the man and wife are raised from different backgrounds and orientations, frictions are bound to occur. When they do arise however, they should help to oil the relationship and not to break as we witness widely today in society.
A husband and wife have to study the temperament and psychology of each other and this should be an on-going exercise for life. When they offend each other, they should learn to seek and grant forgiveness.
Composer Igor Stravinsky says:
“Sins cannot be undone, only forgiven”–
“For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great” (Psalm 25:11)
Forgiveness is no doubt complicated both in serious situations like the instances cited above and in the everyday circumstances that pester our married lives. We make mistakes, and worse, we’re often in denial of our offense or too proud or stubborn to admit it. It’s a bad day at the office or we’re experiencing bad moments, and our tempers sizzle at the tiniest spark of irritation. Our spouse retaliates with indignation, and the situation escalates. Who’s at fault? Who asks forgiveness? Who admits to being wrong? Blame lies with each, but “she started it” or “he insulted me” becomes the mantra. Husband and wife are both fallen creatures. We all married couples do fail.
Realizing our common fallenness can help us have the grace to ask and give forgiveness. Both need to ask and both need to forgive, with the keen understanding that nurturing a forgiving marriage can prevent the bitterness of accumulated offenses that gradually harden hearts and build walls.
But sometimes forgiveness is not that simple. There was the story of Kristen and her husband who were students when they got married; and despite busy schedules, Kristen expected them to spend their free time together. Instead, her husband spent many evenings in bars drinking with the guys. When she became angry, he accused her of nagging and trying to control him. Their words dug in deep and wounded each other. After seven months of marriage, they separated.