Eighty years of marriage! My husband’s great-uncle Pete and great-aunt Ruth celebrated this remarkable milestone on May 31, 2021. After a chance meeting in 1941 when Ruth was still in high school, the young couple were so eager to get married that they eloped the day after Ruth graduated. Pete and Ruth believe God brought them together and has guided them all these years.
Reflecting on eight decades of marriage, Pete and Ruth both agree that one key to sustaining their relationship has been the decision to choose forgiveness. Anyone in a healthy relationship understands that we all regularly need forgiveness for the ways we hurt each other, whether through an unkind word, a broken promise, or a forgotten task.
In a section of Scripture written to help believers in Jesus live together in unity, Paul refers to the essential role forgiveness plays. After urging his readers to choose “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12), Paul adds the encouragement to “forgive one another if any of you has a grievance” (v. 13). Most importantly, all their interactions with each were to be guided by love (v. 14).
Relationships that model the characteristics outlined by Paul are a blessing. May God help all of us work to cultivate healthy relationships characterized by love and forgiveness.