Ausgehend von Kolosser 3,13 “Es ertrage einer den andern und vergebt euch untereinander, wenn jemand Klage hat gegen den andern; wie der Herr euch vergeben hat, so vergebt auch ihr!” entwickelt John Piper einige Überlegungen für die Ehe:
Step 1. Your wife points out something you said or did that is wrong or that she doesn’t like.
Step 2. You get angry. (For five or six reasons that seem good to you at the moment).
Step 3. You have the grace to know in your head that this anger is ungodly and that a heartfelt apology, both for what she pointed out and for the anger, is in order.
Step 4. You are able to say the words of apology but not able to feel sorry because the anger has made your heart hard toward her. You don’t feel tender, you don’t feel broken, you don’t feel sorry. But you know you should, so you say, “I’m sorry.” This is better than silence. It is a partial grace.
Step 5. She feels that you are angry and is, understandably, not satisfied with words that do not carry heartfelt contrition.
Step 6. Time goes by. Twenty-four hours? Two days? The Holy Spirit, ever patient, and relentlessly holy, will not let you go. He works against the anger (James 1:19–20). He stirs up gospel truths (Ephesians 4:32). He softens the heart (Ezekiel 36:26). This may be through Bible reading, the word of a friend, reading a book, attending a worship service. Meanwhile she is waiting, wondering, praying, hoping.
Step 7. Anger subsides. Sweetness rises. Tenderness is awakened. Sorrow for sin grows.
Step 8. You take her aside and you tell her that the first apology was the best you could do at the time because of your sin. You admit it was insufficient. You tell her with tenderness how you feel toward her, and you apologize with heart, and ask for forgiveness.
Step 9. In mercy, she forgives and things are better.