Hello Jill and Mark:

I need advice on how to learn to “let it go” when it comes to marriage. This is in relation to things like broken promises about household projects and such. I realized this morning that I need to figure out how to let it go.




Dear Hurting,

It’s so hard when our spouse’s imperfect affects our life.  If their mistakes, shortcomings, and poor choices only affected them it would be much easier. However, most of the time it affects us, too. The opposite is also true–our imperfect affects our spouse’s life, too.

Mark and I talk about 8 God-Tools in our No More Perfect Marriages book. It’s in times like this when we need to pick up two of our God-Tools: Forgiveness and either Grace or Courage, depending on the situation.

Forgiveness is the first God-Tool we need to handle these situations. Forgiveness keeps our heart uncluttered and available to God. It’s how we “let it go.” But it’s a choice…not a feeling. You won’t ever “feel” like forgiving. You’ll have to choose to forgive.

Forgiveness is also not once and done. When your spouse’s imperfect hurts you in some way, you’ll need to forgive. And then if you bump into another consequence of his/her actions, you’ll have to forgive…again.

Forgiveness is only the first tool though. You’ll have to pick up a second tool and that’s going to be either Courage or Grace. How do you know which one?

Does what happened hurt you or just irritate you? 

If it hurt you, you need to forgive and have the courage to tell your spouse how his or her actions hurt you.  Of course, you can’t control how your spouse will respond, but the conversation will have a much better chance of going well if you’ve already forgiven him or her and aren’t emotionally ramped up yourself.

If it irritates you, you need to forgive and offer your spouse grace–grace space–the space to be human, make mistakes, and not get raked over the coals for being imperfect.

Most of the challenges in marriage require hard, internal work. Forgiveness, grace, and courage are all difficult choices to make. They require us to be willing to do things God’s way rather than our way. Ultimately they give us the ability to experience the “peace that passes understanding” the Bible talks about in Philippians 4:7.

So how do we let go? We pick up our God-Tools and do the hard internal work of forgiveness and grace or courage.

Because we’re all imperfect,



So what about you? Where do you need to use your God-Tools of forgiveness, grace, or courage? 

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