Marriage isn’t always easy. Living life with another human being, as closely as you must live with your spouse, means that there will be times when you need to extend grace. And it’s essential to be generous with your grace.
We’re broken people building lives together; that’s just reality. When we marry, our quirks, flaws, and selfishness come along with us. These very human characteristics inspire disagreements, frustration, and friction from time to time.
How we choose to respond to our spouse’s shortcomings builds and shapes our character. And our ability to extend grace, forgive, and correct our own mistakes with humility helps to strengthen our marriage in turn.
In even the healthiest of relationships, extending generous grace is a requirement. Let’s take a look at four ways you can practice grace-giving in your own marriage.
1. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes.
Learning how to empathize with your spouse–putting yourself in their shoes–is one of the most important components of grace. In order for us to truly understand one another’s point of view, we have to be willing to walk in their shoes. Sometimes, it’s easier to extend grace when we understand where our spouse is coming from.
If you need a little guidance on how to “trade places” with one another in your marriage, we’ve written a book about it here.
2. Give your spouse a chance to feel seen and heard.
Part of offering grace to one another lies in how you make yourselves known in the marriage. This means you both need plenty of space to feel seen and heard. Even if you’re angry with your spouse–even if you don’t feel like giving grace on an emotional level–you can still give them a chance to express their position.
3. Remember that you will sometimes need grace, too.
It’s a bit easier to give grace when we remember that there are times when we’ll need it, ourselves. Keeping this fact in mind could fuel you with the humility you need to extend that same grace to your spouse when you’re going through a difficult time. And keep in mind that grace isn’t just needed when one of you has wronged the other. It’s required when we come up against personality clashes, expectations, and even in the way we do things from day to day. Simple daily frustrations require a daily offering and renewal of grace.
4. Love like Jesus.
Jesus is the exemplary model of grace, forgiveness, and love. When we love like Christ in our marriages, we’re instilling those values at its heart.
We’re bound to stumble and cause one another pain–sometimes unintentionally, and other times not. When we fail to exercise grace, then we begin to resent one another. For many relationships, pervasive resentment is a death blow.
To prevent resentment from setting in, it’s essential to practice loving like Jesus. Les’ book, Love Like That, is a solid guide to get you started in the right direction. Pick up your copy here.
Do you and your spouse extend generous grace in your marriage? How do you keep grace top-of-mind, even when you’re going through a challenging season? Let us know in the comments.