In marriage, somewhere along the way, we can start to feel unseen and unwanted. Responding with grace is often inconvenient. It is tempting to think that we are special. If others knew our situation then they would understand why we act the way we do. He-hem, why we scream at our kids, dismiss our spouse, murmur under our breath, or storm out the door in a huff.
Maybe we are actually searching for an exemption from answering the high and heavenward call of responding with grace. Here’s how you can respond with grace in your marriage—no matter what.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. —Galatians 5:25
How to Respond with Grace In Your Marriage—No Matter What
The heat index was a hundred and eleven degrees, no one had eaten, and we were running late. As is typical, my husband was working right up until the millisecond we were supposed to leave for the swim meet. To be completely fair, the kids and I were doing the same thing. Procrastination and responsibility shifting were in full swing.
“Do you have your goggles?”
“I told you to put sunscreen on!”
“Where is your water bottle? Not that one, it needs to keep the ice cold, it’s a thousand degrees out.”
“I don’t know where your towel is, where did you put it?”
“Did you get your events written down? Help your sister.”
“Are you kidding me? Who ate all the strawberries? Those were for tonight!”
“No, we are not buying food when we get there.”
“Hurry up, we’re going to be late!”
As time slipped away my husband and I decided we needed to divide and conquer. He would take the kids on to the meet and I would hit the grocery store and catch up with them in time for the start of the first event.
Thank goodness there wasn’t a long line at the store. I loaded the groceries into the car and began to pull out of the parking lot. If I hurried home, I could still get the cooler bag packed and make the meet in time to not have to park a mile away.
Just as I was backing out of my parking spot my husband called. Ugh, what now? Doesn’t he know I don’t have time to talk to him? I almost declined his call but knew I’d feel guilty if I did. I answered.
With trepidation and a sliver of hope in his voice he began. “Babe, I just got a call. My painters are at a job and ready to work. There’s only one problem, the paint they need is in the back of the car you are driving. Could you by chance take it out to them? It’s just up the road.”
The Holy Spirit must have swept in and carried the words out of my mouth like a wave that overpowers you in the ocean because the next thing I knew I said, “Sure thing, baby.”
“Oh my goodness! Thank you so much!” my husband replied with a hint of surprise and relief.
When I put the address in my phone “up the road” turned out to be 17 minutes away. God used that time to replace my lingering agitation with grace. After I dropped off the paint I sent my husband a text. “You are my favorite.”
The text I received back from him was incredible. “There is nothing in the world that does more for my soul than when you respond with grace. Thank you, baby! A grace marriage makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for walking the walk.” How great is that—don’t we all need to see more examples of grace in marriage?!
I was wound as tight as I could be wound prior to answering my husband’s phone call. In the wake of saying yes without a guilt trip attached, my anxiety and anger were replaced with peace and love. When I arrived at the swim meet, my husband, who I was in love with all over again, came out to greet me and park the car for me. We had an awesome night cheering on our kids. He even found a spot in the main lot.
My favorite man on the planet has shortcomings just like I do. Instead of tearing him down, it felt good to respond with grace. What pressure cooker scenarios in your life cause you anxiety and tempt you to be angry at your spouse? How could you respond with grace?
Ask God to give you an opportunity to say yes to your spouse this week. Don’t forget to ditch the guilt-slinging when you do.
Grace Marriage Mission: Find Examples of Grace in Marriage
Have you spent intentional time with your spouse lately? Have you sought the Lord in prayer together? Wherever and however you date your spouse this week, consider adding time to play and pray together. You could go for a walk together at a park or in your neighborhood, play a round of putt-putt, or try your hand at pickleball. Spend time praying out loud to your heavenly Father together. Let your cares and concerns flow and find peace as you place them into the hands of the only One worthy of carrying them, our Prince of Peace. Thank God from the depths of your soul for saving you and seeing you in your current situation. Ask Him for help and guidance to follow Him even more closely in your current season of life. Ask Him to help you show examples of grace in marriage. May God bless your efforts abundantly.
Melissa Gilmour is a home-schooling mom and recovering perfectionist who finds freedom within the boundaries of God’s Word. She enjoys rearranging furniture, uninterrupted conversation, and coffee with her husband. She is known to curl up in the fetal position when she hears her five children rouse in the mornings.