Thursday, February 14, 2008

Remembering to Forget Marriage Spills

Kristy Dykes tell a story about a husband who wanted to spruce up his cement patio and told his wife, “I'm going to be painting out here, so don't come out." But she forgot.

Later, she shoved the door open and knocked over a gallon of white paint. The husband had choices to make. He could have yelled, or said, “I told you so.”

He could have complained that he’d clearly informed her of his project or even brought up other times she’d forgotten things. The spill could have been incendiary.

However, this long married couple had experienced misfortunes before and had decided that when accidents occurred, they wouldn’t cast blame. They made a choice early in marrige to forgive and forget. Instead of a lecture or grudge, the husband chose to build a memory around the spilled paint and it became a witness to his love, not combustible blame-throwing.

When the husband looked down at the paint, he saw it had spread almost into a heart shape. With a few quick brush strokes he perfected the very large heart and let it dry. He later inscribed it with these words, “The heart of this house is my darling wife Jeanie.”

Instead of a lecture about carelessness, he chose to recognize and honor her role in their home. Some Eastern nomadic tribes refer to their wives as the tent pole. The one that holds it all together. Apparently the painter cherished his wife and her contributions and he forgave and forgot.

“Forgive & Forget” are good inscription words for the inside of wedding bands. I’m reminded of something I read about Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross.

A friend reminded her of a vicious act that someone had committed against her. The friend could see that Ms. Barton didn’t seem to recall the malicious behavior and asked, “Don’t you remember it?”

“No,” Ms. Barton replied, “I distinctly remember forgetting.”

Solomon said, there is a “time to keep and a time to throw away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). Marriages shouldn’t become throw-aways, but a lot of the day-to-day components should. Upsets and mishaps will happen, but whether we bank them in a grudge vault or set them out with the trash is a persoanl choice.

This week love your spouse with all your heart, and remember to forget.


  1. I LOVE "distinctly remember forgetting" - that is SO necessary in marriage.

    I would venture to say, even some of the BIG things are worth throwing away as they only hinder full forgiveness and healing on both sides.

    There is still something that dh brings back often (he did) that he feels overwhelming guilt. It is not my job to remind, but to encourage and forgive. Something I have to remind myself is that peace begets peace while angst begets angst. Choosing my heart and heads attitude will foretell what will prevail in my marriage.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts and inspirations. I appreciate them!

  3. Ironically I have seen the 'remember to forget' message earlier this month, pertaining to marriage. So many carry grudges with them, and they only leads to more hurt and not wanting to believe in the union itself. When we look at our wedding bands, and see that continuous circle of gold/silver, it reminds us of what our vows were truly meant to be. A continuous journey of two lives that became one. And the journey is never ending till death. And even after death, we know that we will carry that journey with us to heaven. Let not our day to day misgivings and stresses outweigh what we know lies in our hearts for our spouse and companion in life.

    Lisa Harper
    Belmont, NC