As I walked through the hallway toward the family room, I was excited to see the general manager of the Winter Ball team my husband had managed the previous year. After the extremely hard winter with three small boys, lots of snow and being alone, I had demanded my husband stay home with us. “If you love us you will stay.” It wasn’t a request, it was a demand of conditional love, my condition for his love.
My heart dropped as the GM said, “We are hoping you will spend more time with us this winter.” My husband had committed to another year managing the team. I was expected to stay home alone again with three small boys and manage a household with all that snow while he relaxed in the Caribbean. The anger in me boiled. My heart was broken. He didn’t love me enough to stay home; he didn’t love the boys enough to stay. My hubby’s explanation was that he needed to do this for his career. My hurt was that he didn’t even ask me or talk to me about it. I didn’t leave a whole lot of room for him to talk to me. I had demanded, and he had reacted.
This was the beginning of the end of our marriage. This one incident continues to make my heart feel heavy to this day. It was looming large in the list of wrong doings, a list I kept writing and holding onto with great strength. He did this wrong and that wrong. With each argument, with each confrontation, the list was whipped out and used like a sword. A sword penetrated deep into his heart just where I wanted it to be. Let’s just say this is not the way to heal a marriage.
When I began my relationship with Christ, one of the things I had to confront was the list of wrongdoings I held so tightly to. Jesus wanted me to heal my heart. I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted Him to heal my husband’s heart. But convict me, He did. I began with writing a list of all the wrongs my husband had done. I prayed over that list at first with anger and tears then I moved to forgiveness. Forgiving him for all the ideals and expectations, many unrealistic, that I had held him to.
Then the Lord led me to the list of my wrongdoings. Oh how my heart broke into little pieces as I finally began to see the wrongs I had done to my husband. I had held so tightly to what he had done to me that I had become blind to the wrongs I returned or created.
I prayed over my list and first prayed for my forgiveness then forgave myself. I took that list to my husband and asked for his forgiveness. He forgave and in return asked for forgiveness. We forgave ourselves and each other. We agreed to take those lists, both mental and on paper, rip them out, ball them up and burn them with an agreement to attack those issues one by one, not keeping a record. Jesus does the same with each of us.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Our slates are wiped clean. He keeps no record of wrong.” Lamentations 3:33-23