By Dennis Rainey

I don’t know anything at all about what caused it, what led up to it or even what came of it. But I’m sure it was hard for people not to notice a full-page ad in the Jacksonville newspaper one morning that read: “Please believe the words in my letter. They are true from my heart. I can only hope you will give me the chance to prove my unending love for you. Life without you is empty and meaningless.”

It was a full-page $17,000 advertisement and plea for forgiveness.

According to the ad’s author, his wife of 17 years had left him two weeks earlier. She was living temporarily with her parents in a gated community, beyond the reach of her husband. Even her cell phone number had been changed to keep him from contacting her. But relatives told him that she had indeed seen the large display ad and had left the room crying.

I pray that they were able to work things out. But—again, not knowing the circumstances—this still goes to show you that marriage, unlike any other human relationship, is the joining of two hearts into one flesh. The pain of living at a distance, even temporarily, feels like a limb being torn away. We can’t think straight. We can’t enjoy ourselves.

That’s why your marriage must be a place where mercy and forgiveness are regularly being asked for and extended. Given, received and embraced. None of us are able to always be everything our spouse wants us to be. But only through the power of grace and forgiveness can you live through seasons of disappointment—with yourself and with one another—and come out feeling united again.

It might even save you $17,000 and even more heartache.


Is there anything between you two today? Anything that you need to ask forgiveness for . . . or forgive one another for … right now? Just do it.


Thank the Lord for His full forgiveness of us and for the ability to extend the same to each other.