COUPLE IN CRISISJill: In our No More Perfect Marriages book, we identify the seven slow fades we find every couple experiences in marriage. As more and more people are reading the book, attending the seminars, and reading the blog series, they’re identifying other slow fades that have separated their heart from their spouse’s heart.

Jill: Last week we shared about the slow fade of distractions. This week we want to explore the slow fade of unforgiveness.

Mark: Unforgiveness is when we harbor hurt and hold things against our spouse. In fact, Joyce Meier says that unforgiveness is a poison that pollutes our spirit. With that definition, can you see how unforgiveness is a slow fade that will cause distance in your marriage?

Jill: This slow fade is often not about the big things in marriage, but rather harboring hurt and assigning blame or meaning to the small things in our relationship. We think we “let it slide” but without forgiveness, it actually pools in the depths of our heart. It’s like a toxic poison eating away at our heart and soul, causing us to isolate and lick our wounds.

Mark: So how do we stop the slow fade of unforgiveness? We use a blend of our God-Tools of forgiveness, grace, and acceptance.


Forgiveness is a choice we have to actively make dozens of times a day. Yes, you read that right: DOZENS OF TIMES A DAY. Most of us don’t even forgive once a day, let alone dozens, and that’s why we end up experiencing the slow fade of unforgiveness.

Your spouse doesn’t do what he or she said they would do…forgive. Your spouse exaggerates the truth…forgive. Your spouse forgets to do something you asked them to do…forgive. Your spouse didn’t hear what you said…forgive. Your spouse doesn’t see your need for help…forgive and kindly ask them for help.

Forgiveness is a vertical process with a horizontal result. It’s about keeping our heart untangled and available to God. When we forgive, we are then unhindered in our horizontal relationship with others. If we need to address the issue, we’ll do it with a heart of forgiveness instead of anger.


Grace is a decision to allow our spouse to be human. To make mistakes or decisions without being raked over the coals for every little thing he or she does wrong or different. Sometimes we forgive and address an issue. Sometimes we forgive and give grace, choosing not to address the issue and allow our spouse the space to be imperfect or to do things in a way that is different than we would do them.


Acceptance is needed to help us resist the temptation to harbor hurt over something that isn’t about us at all. Too often we make issues about us that have nothing to do with us. They way our spouse does things. The habits he or she has. The way they’ve responded to us that’s more about their frustration than our value.

Jill: Is the slow fade of unforgiveness stealing joy and creating distance in your marriage? Start using your tools of forgiveness, grace, and acceptance today.

We have three No More Perfect Marriages seminars this Fall in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Florida. Learn more here!

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