Reintegration is always a joy. The period following extended separation is, in many ways, worse than the period of separation. The longer or more stressful the separation, the more rocky reintegration can be. We’ve done this dance over and over, most recently after a mere 30 day deployment to the National Training Center.
Reintegration has broken marriages, as many as have fell to separation. I’ve heard it over and over.
I don’t worry.
The reason is the fundamental principle which titles this article. I know I’m not perfect. It would be hypocritical to expect perfection of my Beloved. The one thing we do, not perfectly but close enough to perfectly, is to forgive each other.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that without forgiveness in a marriage, it is impossible for it to last. If we take as given that all of us, being human, are imperfect, then it stands to reason that we will all make errors in our relations even with the people we love the most. But if we cannot let go of those time when our partner hurts us, slights us, or fails somehow, then eventually their weight becomes overwhelming.
I hear people in relationships talking about forgiveness in the worst ways, as if they were given a weapon for future fights when their partner does wrong. “I’ll forgive him, but he’s going to work for it first.” Or they use the words of forgiveness, and then bring it up as a bludgeon in the next argument. This is most harmful, because it teaches the other partner that no argument is ever over, no wrong is ever made right, and nothing is ever good enough to make up for past mistakes.
Obviously, as Christians, we are commanded to forgive. To bury offenses so deep we cannot recall the details. But as humans who have sharp edges and vulnerable spots, we must learn to forgive, or we will most certainly be unable to bear each other’s presence.