I regularly find myself apologizing to my wife. Not in the sense of “Oh, sorry, honey,” with a tone that says, “I don’t really mean this, but I’m saying it anyway because I have to so you don’t make me sleep on the couch.” Instead, I find myself asking for her forgiveness because I am truly guilty and seeking repentance in her eyes.
Before you think I am a horrible, evil husband (or have a guilt streak a mile wide), hear me out. It’s important for me to clarify my position. I find myself apologizing to her because I sin against her. I get angry, and I say something with malice. I ignore her and do what I want. I find myself being uncaring at times, or not supportive, or lazy. I don’t do the proper things for her. I find myself not living up to the Bible passage from our wedding, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25 (No, we didn’t have the “Love Chapter” read at our wedding…you can ask about that story if you like…).
I am a sinner, it is true. I am a sinner against my wife, the person whom I love the most in this world. Even love cannot stop my sinfulness. As Paul said in this week’s Epistle from Romans 7:15b, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate.” And do I ever sin against her. It breaks me down when I do. My heart aches and I feel terrible and wretched. That is why I apologize. They are the apologies of a man torn and disfigured by sin. I do not just say, “I’m sorry,” but instead, I seek repentance. That is the way God asks for us to show contrition.
“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:16-17.
I go to my wife as a man who is broken under the Law, unable to stand before her sinless. And she, wonderful and gracious follower of Christ, forgives me! How amazing it is! She forgives me because of our shared faith in Jesus, who has come to remove these sins from our lives. She forgives because of Colossians 3:13b “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” She, as a child of God and faithful servant of Christ, accepts my repentance. We then can, and do, go together to the table of Christ and receive His Body and Blood for our forgiveness together. We listen to the Gospel together and share the Good News of Christ with each other. Growing faith together, we live in love together and the words of Ephesians 5. It is the gift we are able to share with each other every day in our marriage: faith, which brings love.