How do you deal with unforgiveness in a marriage? Pray, love, and obey—in that order.
Prayer aligns us with God’s will. If we pray as we should, seeking His will, in His timing, through His wisdom, we mimic how the Lord Jesus lived life while here on Earth. Jesus prayed in the garden, “...nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Prayer puts us in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude to deal with whatever we may face.
Love is the key to opening doors of possibilities that we cannot yet see through. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a says, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered with Scripture on love “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
If we will be obedient to love the Lord first, and prayerfully love others through Him simply because He tells us to, then we can obediently love and serve an unforgiving spouse in a way that honors the Lord, regardless of how the spouse treats us. To pray, love, and obey like this is a choice we must make every single day, and sometimes moment by moment. But if we rely on His strength and not our own, these tasks will not seem so burdensome. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).