Things I’ve Learned in Twenty-Five Years of Marriage – Part 10

The Power of Grace in Marriage

Photo Credit: Jordi Cucurull via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Jordi Cucurull via Compfight cc

It is so easy to say, “extend grace to your spouse,” but it can be a difficult thing to do until we understand the power of grace in our own lives. Grace, even in marriage, is a hard thing to share with someone else if you don’t know what it is.

“Grace, even in marriage, is a hard thing to share with someone else if you don’t know what it is.”

We’ve all heard the simple definitions of grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. All of these are true about grace. When we received God’s grace, we received a great gift. Extending from that gift is our faith to believe in Christ as Savior. But there is more.

Grace is a Reminder

Grace continues to remind us daily that we are different, that we were made for more, that our lives can glorify God. Grace reminds us that we don’t have to remain enslaved to our most base nature, passions, lusts, feelings, or emotions.

When I am reminded daily that I am a blessed recipient of God’s grace, and that His grace in my life continues to keep me, I am compelled to extend grace to others.

How Grace Affects My Marriage

How does this affect my marriage? Remember grace as unmerited favor, receiving something I didn’t deserve? Well that understanding moves me to view my spouse differently. Even on the days when we disagree intensely, I am moved to extend to her the same thing that was extended to me…grace. The recognition of grace in my own life precedes my ability to forgive my wife and others. To remain hard-hearted, demanding retribution for wrongs (real or perceived) stems from a blindness to the grace personally received.

The third post in this series spoke of the commitment needed in marriage. The primary commitment is to God, and not to your spouse. Our relationship with Him needs the same kind of attention and nurturing that our marital relationships need. In fact, it is even more important because the character that we need to love each other as husband and wife comes from our healthy relationship with God.

So when we find it hard to see our spouses through the lens of grace, we should check the condition of our relationship with God. Have I forgotten the grace I’ve received? Am I still thankful for that grace? Do I remember that His grace isn’t just applied to my past sins, but empower me to live for Him now?

A Parable of Grace

Jesus tells a parable of an unforgiving servant in Matthew 18. The servant, who couldn’t forgive the debt owed to him, was blind to the grace he’d received from the king himself. Soon after had he received what he didn’t deserve (forgiveness) he refused to do the same for another. In the end, the servant didn’t simply harm his relationship with the person, he harmed his relationship with the king as well.

It can seem difficult, if not impossible, to get past hurts. Truthfully, if we attempt to do it on our own it is both difficult and impossible. However, the same grace that we gratefully accepted as it was applied to our old life stands still ready to empower us to live in this new life.

Every marriage should be a picture to the world of how grace is continually applied in our relationships. If you’re struggling in this area, pray daily that God remind you of His grace in your life. Pray that you can see your spouse through the same eyes that God sees you.