Heather Gerwing has joined us today to remind us why keeping a record of all our spouse’s mistakes is in fact not helpful (surprise!). If you need to stop counting how many times in a row you do the dishes (like me), this one is for us. After you read her good stuff, go check out the rest of her good stuff at heathergerwing.com where she writes about living the full life.
I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for the first year of marriage. That year is like a rite of passage we all must go through until we fully experience the true beauty of marriage. No amount of pre-marital counseling or books can prepare you for what you will encounter.
I knew my husband was “the one” the first time I met him. I had made a list of everything I was looking for in a husband and he simply nailed it. He was handsome, hardworking, had a sarcastic humor to match mine, and he loved Jesus. Check, check, check, check!
Twelve years ago, I moved 600 miles away from my family — and what I had known as home for more than 20 years — to live with my new husband whom I had been dating long-distance.
After we were married and settled into our new life as husband and wife, I began making another list. This list was in my head, though.
Every time he did something that I didn’t like or bothered me in the slightest, I added it to my list. Left dishes in the sink, didn’t make the bed, changed the thermostat, said something that irritated me… all added to the list.
It didn’t take long for that list to consume my mind. It became hard for me to see and remember the characteristics that made me fall in love with him. All those checks he had checked off on my initial list were a distant memory. The new list was what mattered most to me now.
My record keeping of wrong doings was harming my marriage.
After a fight in that first year (of which I have no recollection what it was about), my husband said something to me that made me stop and think — and changed the trajectory of our marriage.
He said, “I need you to stop nit-picking. If something bothers you, I need you to ask yourself if it is going to bother you tomorrow, or next week, or in a month. If you still think it is something that is going to bother you – say something. If it is not, let it go.”
Let it go.
The things my husband were doing weren’t sins. They honestly weren’t that big of a deal. However, I was making a big deal about them because of the mental list I was keeping.
One thing isn’t that bad, but when you don’t let it go and are adding your 20th item to a list of wrong-doings, it seems huge. You start questioning your judgment in who you married.
I had to rip up my mental record of wrong-doings.
When he did something that I didn’t like, I started to stop and ask myself – “Is this a big deal? Is this still going to bother me next week?” Most of the time the answer was no. I let it go.
There have been other instances in our marriage over the last 12 years that have warranted big discussions and requests for forgiveness. Those, just like the small things, are let go when forgiveness has been granted. If I were to hold on to them or add them to a list, it would only grow a spirit of resentment in our marriage.
God tells us that love keeps no records of wrongs.
He also says in Psalm 103:12 –
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
And in Micah 7:18-19 –
“Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
God is so good. If we take our sins to him and ask for forgiveness, he hurls them into the depths of the sea. God is not keeping a record of our sins and wrong-doings, and we too should not be keeping a record.
In Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage the tagline is, “What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”
Learning not to keep a record of wrong-doings is sanctifying work.
Loving my husband well requires me not to keep a record of wrong-doings. By following God’s example and letting go, my marriage can help me grow in Christ-likeness.
Heather Gerwing is a Stay-At-Home/Homeschooling-Mom of 4. She is a Jersey Girl at heart but has lived in Michigan for the last 12 years with her husband Jeff and their kids. Heather enjoys reading, coffee-ing, worshipping, and writing. She is passionate about her family and living this life, which God has blessed her with, to the full. You can find her at www.heathergerwing.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram.