My husband and I celebrate our third anniversary next week. Traditionally, this is the leather anniversary. The reason being that this year, the couple begins to see how tough their marriage is and how their marriage will stand up to trials. One lesson that I have learned in three years that I believe will help my husband and me through the rest of the trials in our lives together, is that resentment can be incredibly destructive and that it is vital not to keep score of wrongs.
A few days ago, my husband did something that upset me. It wasn’t out of animosity; it was simply that we had a miscommunication about priorities. We discussed it, and we both apologized; but yet, I let myself be bent out of shape for most of the day before coming to a stunning realization:
I don’t brood for hours when my sons annoy me.
I don’t hold a grudge when they stomp on my feet, bite while nursing, throw their food, unfold the laundry, or just throw a fit over nothing. With my boys, the instant the situation ends, I gently correct them, then move on and hope for a better outcome next time. I am way more forgiving and understanding to these two little crazies than I am to my husband, who I publicly vowed to love, honor, and cherish until death do us part.
The argument, of course, could be made that the children don’t know any better; they are still learning. I argue, however, that we never stop learning. And I know my toddler understands that I don’t want him doing tumbles off the end tables.
As a mother, I currently don’t get upset because I know that my children are generally not trying to aggravate me. I know that even if they are, it is my duty to do my utmost to teach them and lead them to holiness and God. While the dynamic is not the same, as husbands and wives, we are called to make each other better people, and to lead each other to holiness and God as well.
It is so much easier to hold onto hurts and aggravations with a spouse since our relationship with them is so much more intimate. And of course, if your spouse is genuinely being injurious to you, it should be dealt with. I most certainly am not suggesting that husbands and wives let themselves be mistreated. What I am saying, is that once the situation is resolved, let that be the end of it. It does no good to sulk over something that is in the past; all it does is cast a cloud over the present.
Parents have an instinctual ability to forgive their children quickly so as to help them learn and develop. Christian mothers and fathers know that resentment towards their children is not going to help their souls and that they must be given every chance to learn and grow. We need to come to this same realization about our spouses. We need to take just as seriously our duty to bring them to God as well.
So today, give it a try: treat your husband like a child. Treat your wife like a child. Give them all the love and understanding that you would give to your sons and daughters. Let the resentment go, and continue to walk together closer to God.