Sharp words burned on Autumn’s tongue, and she didn’t hold them back. “Leave, for all I care.” (Autumn's Break)
As soon as the door closed, she regretted what she'd said. That her husband was leaving was ripping her apart, but mean-spirited words had popped out faster than she could control them.
Ever said something in the heat of the moment that you regret? I have.
After church one day, something really irked me. (I know ... after church, right? How could that happen?) I must admit, I’d been feeling grumpy for a while, and my husband had been edgy—perfect tinder for a fight. I hopped in the car and the first thing out of my mouth reeked of accusation. My normally mild-mannered hubby responded with words that churned in my gut for hours.
You’re probably curious about what I said, and if you’re acquainted with the man I’m married to, you want to know what he said because you know he’s a decent guy.
But let’s just say, we were spitting mad at each other.
More about what we’d been feeling than anything that was said.
Soup simmering on the burner long enough is going to boil over!
And it did. Not in a very Christ-like way either.
With stony faces, we rode in silence the rest of the way home.
Ever been there? Angst roiling in your stomach. Tension thick as mud. Hurts building a brick wall between two people who would die for each other under normal circumstances. But not that day.
At the house, I tromped inside and shoved my feet into hiking boots. Within minutes I was trudging into the woods, ranting. A cougar would have met its match if it dared approach me. Oh I wrestled with troubling thoughts that day!
I bet when we get all riled at our spouse the devil does a victory dance! If he has his way, he’ll break us up. Even he knows the good a husband and wife can do for the kingdom of God if they are living in love and unity and praying together. He wants to ruin that. How foolish I was to listen to him that day. But for a few ugly hours I did.
Of course, I worked off my angst. We apologized right away. Lived happily ever after. (Insert romantic music here.)
Things were icy between us the rest of the day. We barely spoke. Some problems take time to unravel.
I can say ... eventually ... sincere, heartfelt apologies were expressed. Forgiveness was offered and accepted on both sides. But our hearts took a while to mend from our outbursts.
Stuff happens in marriage. In all relationships, for that matter.
Everyone is on a journey, and we never know what struggles a person may be going through. So we should offer lots of grace, right? Seems doubly true for husbands and wives. We don’t fully comprehend everything our sweetheart is experiencing. I don’t know the stress my husband is under at work. What the road conditions were like on the long drive home. What he’s wrestling with inside. He doesn’t know how lonely I’ve been. How much I need for him to come home and talk with me. He doesn’t know my deepest thoughts.
We are human. We make mistakes. I do, for sure!
So let's at least offer our spouse the same kindness we’d extend to friends, family, and coworkers. Then add an extra dose of grace—because, after all, that guy or gal we're married to is the love of our life!
Over the years of our marriage—40+—Jason and I have needed lots of second chances. Maybe a bazillion or so. But that’s okay. We are in this journey of life together. Walking in love most of the time, and offering grace and forgiveness on a daily basis.
How about you? Ever needed a second chance to make things right?
Mary Hanks writes stories of second chances.
We all need a second chance sometime.