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Well, friends, we’ve come to the bottom of the trunk.  All that’s left are the mothballs, so to speak, tips that will protect and preserve your marriage.  Not fun to carry out, they are often overlooked.

9.  Apologize sincerely.  Advice given by James Lankford in a sermon series at Village Baptist Church.  At the very least, an apology should be a full sentence, complete with a subject and a verb.  “Sorry” doesn’t cut it.  It gives the impression that you can’t be bothered with the other person’s feelings and/or don’t think them worthy of your time and effort.   A good apology is sincere, shows forethought, and includes a brief summary of what you have done wrong.  A great apology acknowledges how what you’ve done might have affected the person that you have wronged.  An excellent apology ends with a humble request for forgiveness.  While apologizing can be difficult, especially if you think you deserve one as well, the payoff is worth it.  Sincere apologies bring relief to both sides of a conflict and set the stage for healing and growth.  Besides that, making up can be a lot of fun!

10. Forgive immediately. Okay, this one I learned through good old-fashioned trial and error.  Do not wait for an apology.  Just go ahead and, with the Holy Spirit’s help, pardon your beloved, but accused.  Calmly and without piety tell your spouse exactly what you are forgiving them for if you must (especially if they don’t know what they have done to hurt you).  Then, put the past behind you and get back to being your normal, pleasant self as quickly as possible.  Unforgiveness will hold you hostage if you let it.  End the spiritual terrorism by doing what God wants you to do.  Even if it means nothing to the forgiven, the Father will be pleased, and you will be free to go on with your life.

Doing the things that I’ve just mentioned, especially in the midst of hurt and disappointment, can be a real challenge, an act of sheer will sometimes, but you will never regret making yourself do what is right.  The Lord rewards obedience, and your marriage will benefit, a good thing considering the fact that this is forever we’re talking about.