Thursday, August 11, 2011
Grace on a Thursday: Marriage edition
None of us married someone perfect, and if we did, we certainly wouldn't belong with them! Which is why grace is an essential ingredient in a healthy marriage. But instead of a long-winded (what, me?) post, I thought I'd just be honest about the ways in which I need grace from my husband. Another thing a healthy marriage needs is humility. It's not easy to face our weaknesses, but practice helps.
Here are some of the many areas in which I need my husband's grace...his "unmerited favor"...
I need grace for the times I micromanage his parenting, his time, or even the way he loads the dishwasher instead of being thankful that he IS parenting, taking care of himself, or helping with the dishes at all.
I need grace for the times I let my fears run my emotions, treating him like the person I'm afraid he is, instead of seeing him through God's eyes.
I need grace for all my careless words and reactions.
I need grace for the times I fail to walk closely with the Lord, having little or nothing to offer him.
I need grace for the times in that weakness when I make him my god, looking for my deepest needs to be met by him, someone incapable of meeting them.
I need grace for the times I raise my voice to our children - his children - out of my emptiness.
I need grace for the times I see that glaring speck in his eye and neglect the log in my own.
And I need grace for the past, those times through the years when my words or actions left particularly big scars on his heart and have resulted in present day challenges in relating.
I know there are more. And he needs grace in many of the same ways from me. Every marriage has it's set of issues and injuries. But the bottom line is that unless we are regularly accepting God's gift of grace for ourselves, we can't grant it to our spouse. I am not beating myself up for these weaknesses. I am not wallowing in guilt and shame. Where would that get us? I am 1) embracing God's grace for me because I know Jesus died for my mistakes, and 2) asking for that same grace from my husband. Because of his own hurt, he can't always give it, and that's okay. That's human. To forgive does not mean to forget. But I still try to push forward, make better choices, and stay connected to God.
I get caught up in wanting to be a perfect wife for him. Always lifting him up, putting his needs first, and taking care of my family without a hitch. But that's not real. Perfection is nothing more than a destructive illusion.
Instead, my prayer needs to be that I increase in grace, accepting myself for my sin and shortcomings, and accepting my husband in his.
How different would our marriages look if they were overflowing with grace?