31 Days of Prayer for Marriage,  Uncategorized

Forgive? Yes. Forget? Maybe Not. (Marriage Challenge – 31 Days of Prayer)

Day 20 - 31 Days of Prayer for Our Marriages

I was at a women’s conference this past weekend. During the lunch hour, everyone was asked to write down a question on a piece of paper. The questions were then taken on stage where we discussed them in an open format. We got feedback from the audience and we offered our thoughts on each topic.

It was clear to me that marriages are under attack, and that couples are mending their wounds.

It was during this time that an interesting question came up. “I’m trying to forgive,” the note read, “but I don’t know if I can ever forget. What should I do?”

The answer was simple, but profound. “Then don’t forget.”

Coming from a place of sin and shame in my own marriage I can understand why she would answer that way.

We can’t always forget, but we can use that experience as a reference point. Knowing where you were and how far you have come, is a reminder of how God has been at work in and through your lives.

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35 Comments

  • Sharon

    I can remember one time when someone offended me and I decided that every time I thought of that offense I would ask God to help me forgive and then pray for something good for that person. The first day I probably prayed about 20 times for her! The second day maybe 10. And it went down from there until I realized that I no longer thought of that person together with the offense. Today I have no idea what the offense was. I think I should try this when I get upset with my husband!

  • jacqi teehan

    I would also like to add that I have found also that unforgiveness in general causes problems. I have had issues in the past with certain people, especially family, who have hurt me intentionally and have found it extremely difficult to forgive. This causes alot of problems in marriage because it blocks everything from flowing the way it should. Since I have learned to be more sensitive to God’s leading and seek forgiveness from Him soon because Peace is so much better! There is something a good friend shared with me once that truly helped me thru this process, ” When you do not forgive, whether the other person knows they did something or not or whether they should apologize too or not, bottom line, when you do not forgive you are giving them power over you!” This is not what God intends! Freedom is Gods’s gift, especially in marriage where it should thrive and be one of the sources of strength- the freedom to be open and honest with each other and everything flowing! Billy Graham said once that a healthy relationship should have arguments occasionally with forgiveness quickly to follow.. it builds the relationship up, instead of never arguing and keeping it in till you explode!

  • shana

    Thank you so much for this article..I have been dealing with this question not just about my husband but my ex husband as well. There has been allot of emotional abuse from my ex. I know the Lord wants me to forgive him but I’m like Lord if I forgive him I don’t want to allow the abuse again.So this answers my question I can forgive him but I don’t have to forget how he treated me. And the same goes for my husband or really anybody you can forgive them but the Lord also wants to protect you from getting hurt like that again. Again thank you

  • Darlene

    Forgiving and forgetting is difficult. My husband left me for another women, we was apart for about a year. This was several years ago, I still struggle with the pain. I have forgiven him, we are happy now. When the thoughts come to my mind, I stop and pray for myself, to rid me of bad thoughts, I pray for my husband. I have found this works, the negative thoughts don’t hang around as long.

  • Carole

    Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. You are the one who suffers, not the other person!! Sometimes it is very difficult to forgive, Do IT ANYWAY. You will be so relieved. Interesting isn’t it how it makes us feel better…God’s upside down Kingdom….ya gotta love it!!!

  • FD

    Your prayers are needed. We both have trust issues. Forgiveness has been spoken, but not shown. She will not trust me because she can not forget past hurts. I have had a hard time trusting her because of unfaithfulness. I still want to fight for this marriage, because she is worth it. I know God is not done with us as well. I need more strength to withstand this time. Lord help us forget the past.

    • Darlene Schacht

      There’s never any guarantee in this world. We’re all married to sinners–each and every one of us. But we’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7, “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

      I pray that you will both be strengthened, FD.

  • Taryn

    The part that stands out to me is, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” So many times I can make things more difficult by taking the reins myself and “battling” whatever may be coming against me. I love that God is there to fight for us; that sometimes I just need to be still and watch Him work. We love an AMAZINGLY perfect God! 🙂

  • Hope

    I’ve been struggling with forgiveness for quite some time, not towards my husband but towards his family. There have been so many lies and coverups over the years and it’s negatively impacted our marriage. I’m praying for God to strengthen my heart towards forgiving them. I’m glad the battle is Gods, I must choose to let Him fight this for me even when I don’t see victory happening. God is for me, not against me. Pray that I will forgive them even while they choose not to acknowledge the pain that has been caused.

  • Peggy

    Thanks Darlene! Wonderful Word for today on forgiveness and forgetting. {a God-incidence because I too touched lightly/briefly on this topic today as well on my blog but not related to my marriage}. I agree with Missy above and Amen to Taryn, and joined you with a prayer for Hope. My spouse says he forgives me but I believe that he still is in retaliation mode and can’t really shake that. But I place all in the hands of God and gladly add my “Amen” to this prayer. Really great insights from your heart in this one Darlene. Bless you! ~Peggy

  • Kelly

    I appreciate this message today so much. I’ve been struggling with feelings of anger, trust and forgiveness in my marriage for quite awhile. When I have thoughts that come out of nowhere of past hurts, lies, or misdeeds, I pray for God’s strength and peace to dissolve those angry, hurt feelings and replace those thoughts with remembering all of the forgiving that the Lord provided for all of my sins. I remind myself of all of the personal growth and healing that God has blessed my husband and I in our marriage these past 8 months where non of the old deceits are taking place anymore and rejoice and give thanks and praise to God. It changes my perspective and brings healing thoughts. It is a process and I know that the Lord will heal.

  • Christi

    The first 5 years of our marriage were the worst years I have ever had in my life! I became a brand new stepmom for the first time, to two boys ages 12 and 15 yrs old. The 15 yr old was bound and determined to remove me from “HIS” house, and he made my life a living hell. His father, who felt much guilt from his divorce from their mother, did absolutely nothing to prevent these actions from the 15 yr old. He allowed these things to take place … until I would finally get to a point that I had my bags packed and was ready to walk out the door. So much happened during this time of our lives, and to this day, I still harbor much anger, unforgiveness, and disrespect for him because of all this. November 1st will be our 11th wedding anniversary. I’m working hard to forgive him, and move past these hurts, but I gotta tell ya, it’s not easy! The hurt was truly very deep!! I do know that through Christ I can do anything. I am standing on that scripture and praying that God will help me and I will finally be able to totally release all this, and learn to love my husband the way God wants me to.

    Thank you for sharing this today. It truly spoke to my heart! <3

  • Amanda R.

    I can’t tell you how blessed I’ve been in these last 21 days of prayer for my marriage! Darlene, thank you so much for being obedient to God and writing this book. He has spoke to me so much in the last 3 weeks. I went into this thinking I would learn how to pray for my husband so that he would change. Instead, God has shown me things in my own heart that need to be changed. I’ve never had such a fresh perspective on marriage, and why God ultimately created it. It’s amazing! I have always held onto unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment in my marriage. Sometimes unknowingly, but still yet, I’ve held onto them. God has shown me how wrong that is though, and I thank Him for that! I always thought ‘I had a right to be right,’ and ‘I had a valid reason to be mad.’ I was constantly trying to punish my husband to teach him some grand lesson. But now I see God has a MUCH better plan in mind for my marriage. When I honor, respect, love and submit to my husband, even when he isn’t ‘deserving’ of it, I am in turn honoring, respecting, loving and submitting to my Heavenly Father. And He, in turn, blesses me and my marriage. It’s so simple, yet I’ve never truly caught on until now. I pray the fire that has been lit in my heart for my marriage will continue to burn bright! Thank you Darlene for following the Holy Spirit’s calling!

  • Mom of Six Kiddoes

    Darlene,
    I have downloaded the 6 Ways to Build Up Your Husband which is essentially the same thing as a bunch of things I received as wedding gifts, books I was given, etc. nearly thirteen years ago. In the thirteen years I have had six children, homeschooled (my husband insisted on us homeschooling) and tried to meet expectations that I couldn’t meet. I’ve tried to overlook the thoughtlessness, the complete insensitivity and even verbal, emotional and physical abuse when I haven’t been able to meet all the expectations. I am ready to call it quits, but my beliefs about marriage are such that I couldn’t really do it, and besides with six children I am better off probably staying put, since I must homeschool and presently don’t have employment.

    What I want to know is this — I have done an Internet search for a complementary “6 Ways to Build Up Your Wife” and none exists. I only get the 6 ways to build up your husband. I am starting to get more than a little irritated. Where is the 6 ways to build up your wife, when will it be available, and please tell me where it is. Thanks.

    • Darlene Schacht

      I don’t know about six ways to build up your wife, but I do know that Matthew L. Jacobson has an eBook called 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Very similar, but more than I have. http://matthewljacobson.com

      I’m so sorry to read the discouragement you’re feeling. I pray that God will lift your spirits and brighten your surroundings.

  • Lisa

    My heart changed when I believed my husband would fall under God’s justice system. Oh Lord please change him became Oh Lord be merciful to him!

  • Lorelie

    Interesting how it feels good sometimes to hold on to anger against my husband… But if someone else did, I’d have something to say about THAT…I would come to his defense. Oh how we thrill and please the devil with our bitterness! I pray that I can let things go easier, and be fully satisfied with my marriage to this sinner, and oh Lord please, PLEASE let him feel the same towards me. Sometimes I think my expectations of him are higher than he holds me to. Bless that man!
    Thanks for this post Darlene…I feel better already just speaking positively of him:)

  • Smile

    I was not faithful the first year of our marriage. I pray for forgiveness, this pain of guilt sits in my heart. It weighs so heavy on me, and brings be down because I feel I lost God’s love. Reading this makes me realize HE Loves me.

  • Momof5

    I hope mom of 6 kiddoes was encouraged to seek professional help after writing that she has tried to overlook verbal, emotional and physical abuse. Tolerating any kind of abuse is not of God and we aren’t being godly wives by overlooking it. This man needs to be accountable for his actions and the children’s well being needs to be addressed. Overlooking it will insure that it will be passed on. I’ll be praying for this woman to have courage and strength to seek help for herself and her family.

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