I recently did something that hurt and offended my wife.
No one can relate to this! It is true confession time. I hurt her badly.
Immediately after the confrontation came the apology. My wife spoke out her forgiveness. In her emotions and body language, I knew she was still hurting. In spite of this, the forgiveness was present without strings attached. She did not cop an attitude or make me pay for my sin. The offense was released. She had shown me grace in our marriage.
I should have paid for it. I deserved emotional and physical pain. I was stunned by the depth of my wife’s love for me. It was love and grace which motivated me more than any repercussions ever could.
In our attempt to grow and change, we often surround ourselves with rules to build good habits. These are linked to negative consequences when we fail. These are helpful in our growth. I know I need to walk out the consequences of my poor decision in my marriage for weeks to come. This will help adjust my behavior. My behavior is not the real issue. How can my heart be changed? True transformation comes from love and grace, not self imposed boundaries.
Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
I love this passage. It demonstrates a grace bigger than salvation, one for all of life. The verb “training” is an active, continual verb. Grace does not merely saves us.
Grace serves us.
Grace motivates us.
Grace promotes change in our life.
I want to change more as a result of my wife’s love and grace, than if she would stomp around the house in anger. Should she make me pay for my actions? (In my shame, part of me wants to pay.) This could make me desire to avoid the consequences of my sin, but never deal with the root.
In short, grace makes me want to become a better husband. In the movie As Good as it Gets, Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, “you make me want to be a better man…” My wife’s love and grace, coupled with forgiveness from heaven, serves that purpose in my life.
Think about the last time you made your spouse “pay” for their mistake.
Where did that get you?
Did it result in life change or more tension within your marriage?
After you walk through the emotional pain of the hurt, choose to forgive and extend grace. We desperately need more grace in marriage. Your spouse does not deserve it, that’s why it is grace!