“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10 nlt
“Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” Martin Luther
When my husband and I were newly married, I remember one evening, very vividly, where we were sitting at the dinner table arguing. I cannot for the life of me remember what the quarrel was about, but I recall being so angry with him that I nudged my plate about six inches away from me and said, “Forget you!” It didn’t seem to do the trick or incite the kind of response in him I was hoping for (he is very calm by nature). Then I stormed out of the front door of our little condo, sat down on a step about twenty feet away, and pouted for a bit.
I thought that he would for sure come out, plead his apologies, and beg for me to come back inside. He never did. I waited there for what felt like hours, though it was likely thirty minutes or so. I remember sitting there thinking, “Is this how marriage is supposed to feel? I thought it was supposed to make you feel good.” I remember feeling very defeated. I knew in that moment my perspective needed to change.
Marriage is about two sinful people learning to live together in companionship. We don’t always get it right. We can try our very best, but perfection is reserved for Jesus only. Thank goodness for that! So many expectations can be released when you allow your spouse to just be another person in this world—trying his best but inevitably falling short. There is an immeasurable opportunity to love our spouses well by living a life that overflows with grace for this very reason.
I looked up the definition of the word “grace,” and one source said, “The condition or fact of being favored by someone.” What a beautiful concept! Which leads me to my next definition; what is favor? It is an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual. Grace should be poured upon our spouses in bucketfuls. If you have an issue with your man that you want Him to repent of, your kindness toward him, your undeserved “favor,” may be just what God is calling you to do to help him out of his pit!
Here are two wonderful ways we can extend grace to our husbands:
Learn to accept your husband’s limitations. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Friend, this is a huge one. Like I mentioned above, our husbands will not, and cannot, be perfect, and neither can you or I. Our men have their own set of strengths and weaknesses that make them who they are. Over time, I have grown to laugh and even enjoy my husband’s imperfections. Their vulnerability is a window into their heart. Don’t take that for granted! Pray for him and love him through his struggles, even if these struggles affect your relationship. Before you try to “fix” anything about your husband, go to God in devoted prayer—not just a frustrated, disgruntled prayer, but pour out your heart before the Lord. You can rest easy that Jesus can do more than you expect or hope in the situation.
Always assume the best. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2 esv). When you decide to assume the best in your spouse, the whole tone of your relationship will change. It creates trust when you feel like you are on the same team instead of on opposing ones. Conversations become a lot more graceful, and protective walls come down. Assume your husband loves you and cares for you, even when he is bringing up something that’s not fun to talk about and maybe even in a way that doesn’t feel very loving. Decide ahead of time that you will actively listen instead of pleading your individual case in the argument. Bend your ear to understanding instead of winning. When you decide to trust and not assume the worst in your spouse, conversations that could possibly have turned into arguments become opportunities to grow closer. They may not deserve this, but showing them how much you love them by assuming the best will speak volumes.
Faith-Filled Idea: Win as a Team
Around our house, we know that when one of us wins an argument, we both lose. So we focus on making sure that Team Porter (our last name) wins every disagreement. Together we come to a solution that allows us to both “win” and draws us closer because of it. Conflict is normal in a marriage, and we are presented with opportunities to either show love through forgiveness or stay defensive. So what team are you on? Pray about being on “Team _______” with your man. When a disagreement arises, quietly pray “God help me to be on Team _______, and to not only plead my case.” This simple prayer could be a game changer for you! After all, Jesus is in the business of changing hearts.