My husband and I agreed years ago that we would say “I forgive you” when attempting to reconcile in marriage.
I use to use phrases such as:
Okay being one of the most used of the bunch.
However, if either of us ever avoided the word “forgive” the conflict always resurfaced and triggered another argument.
Forgive represents resolute, finished, completed. Without the acknowledgment of that word, our tender hearts could never fully reconcile because the wounds of offense still oozing.
Then we had a conversation about how words are powerful and saying words out loud carry the weight of either life or death. Words are an outpouring from our hearts, the very place where injury affects us, and the place we make a choice to either heal or cling to bitterness.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21
We believe we can’t say the words “I forgive you” unless we truly forgive. Have you ever tried to genuinely say something that you didn’t believe in your heart? Naturally, it is difficult for us to do this, and in instances when we lie, it is often felt as a lie to the one on the receiving end.
In our marriage, we know we are not reconciled after an offense until we hear the words “I forgive you.” Knowing this helps us to know exactly where we are with each other, leading us to pay close attention to what needs to be done to reconcile and heal.
It is amazing the power held in those three words. They set both of us free from the conflict that tries to entangle us. Sometimes we respond quickly, while there are moments that it takes us longer to get the words out, longer for our hearts to accept them, especially when our flesh justifies why we shouldn’t say them at all.
I chose to say “I forgive you” because of what Jesus says in Matthew 6:14-15:
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I also believe saying “I forgive you” does more good for my marriage than any other phrase I could say toward my husband.
If you and your husband want to practice true reconciliation in your marriage, practice saying the words “I forgive you.” Ditch any of the empty filler words that avoid true reconciliation such as, “okay.”
It takes time to retrain and intentionally use these three words, but these words are powerful and life-giving.
You might just be amazed at the power held in your tongue and the healing that takes place in your heart and marriage.