How Long Should I Extend Grace in Marriage? And Linkup

I ended last week’s post in the series, The Many Faces of Grace, with this question: When is it unhealthy or “enabling” to overlook an insult or sin in my spouse (or other offender)?

I think the questions to consider in this kind of situation are:

  1. Is it destructive to one or more relationships? (Creating a relational wall)
  2. Is it harming the person’s testimony as a Christ-follower?
  3. Is it a repeated pattern?

Grace

Please extend some grace to me as I back up for a moment before plowing ahead. I briefly mentioned the very first “face of grace”saving grace—in last week’s post. That’s the grace that all the other faces of grace stand upon.

If you don’t have a saving relationship with Christ, then you won’t be able to adequately do or show any of the other “faces of grace” in your marriage and life. Read more about this saving grace here.

Just for fun and illustration, I’d like to give each of the faces of grace a nickname appropriate to the “face” that is shown when that grace is activated.

So for “saving grace,” I think “Grace” is the most accurate and straightforward nickname to choose.

Regarding the “face of grace” I discussed last week that involved patience, acceptance and humble forgiveness, I think “Patti” for “patience” would be a good nickname. Don’t you?

As I eluded to above, there are times when extending grace involves confrontation, so maybe we could call that face of grace, “Connie”—short for Confront (Middle name “When” and last name “Necessary”). 😉

Before I discuss how to graciously confront in this series, I’d like to unveil yet another face of grace that comes in the gap of waiting to confront or not.

This face could be called, “Pete”—short for “petition.”

Here’s how Pete helps in the gap . . .

Let’s say my hubby said something hurtful to me. I then choose to show the face of grace known as “Patti”showing him patience by not saying or doing anything to react to his offense. I simply continue to treat him with kindness in my tone, words, and attitude.

Would that be where grace ends? It could be. Unfortunately, sometimes this is where it stops in my life.

But here’s the thing, leaving it there often means that I’ve just given Satan an opportunity to step into this “gap” with his destructive schemes. If I don’t show up with “Pete” in tow, I leave not only my heart and relationship vulnerable to attack and discouragement, but I leave my husband’s heart and life unguarded. 🙁

My prayer might sound like this: “Father, I ask You to open my husband’s eyes to the ways he has hurt me. Also, replace the angry or hurtful words he might be tempted to say with loving words instead—giving him the ability to avoid hurting me in the future. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Every day that I pray that prayer for my husband, I’m seizing another opportunity to extend grace to him. It doesn’t matter if my spouse realizes I’m “extending” God’s grace to him. The point is, God is invited to work more actively in my spouse’s heart. Besides . . .

Jesus loves to answer a prayer like that!

Don’t forget! You might want to pray a similar “Pete” prayer for your own heart—asking God to protect you against bitterness and to open your eyes to any ways you’ve negatively contributed as well.

Next week I will be talking about “Connie”—the confrontational face of grace. The funny thing about “Connie’s” face is that it often changes depending on the way my spouse or offender responds. Oh my!

 

What’s been a negative way you’ve handled this “gap time” after your spouse has hurt you?

(Remember … Confession is good for the soul!)

 

How long or how many hurtful actions do you think it takes before you should confront your mate?

 

Be sure to scroll down to comment below!


Here are some lovely linkups I joinChristian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Writer Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Faith and Friends, Sitting Among Friends, Moments of Hope, Literary Musing Mondays, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday

Let’s Get this ‘From Messes to Messages’ Linkup Started!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to “From Messes to Messages” or Messy Marriage as well. For linkup guidelines/button, click here.

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  • Mary

    I love your names for the faces of grace. It really helps to remember who is who. Thank you for explaining how we need Patti and Pete to work together to fill in the gaps. The thought of Satan coming in the back door because we didn’t invite Pete is not okay. Great post and word pictures for grace.

    • Isn’t it funny how something as simple as a name we can identify with helps us to recall the “face” of grace we need to show, Mary?! This series has me thinking through the many faces of grace in my marriage as well–applying and living them out more often. What a bonus as a blogger!

  • Patricia A Krank

    This is a good series and I’m looking forward to seeing how Connie comes in to play next week! Thank you for the link up m’dear.
    Patti (the not always patient one)

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Patti! And you know, I wasn’t talking about you specifically! But I’m grateful that you called yourself out on it. That’s so very transparent of you and I LOVE transparency! Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • pioneerpat1

    Going have to use that prayer. My mate has a habit of dismissing others crazy behavior towards me by saying “They don’t know better.”, I have started to respond “Why is their behavior ok and if I do the same behavior back, you jump on me.”. She responds “You know better.”

    Hold on stop the presses, I was the one who grew up in the hood, went to a hood high school, raised myself and everything and is still considered a hood rat and not “RP” (right people) by many but “I know better??” I must have done a hell of a job in raising myself.

    So, I will use that prayer, it beats getting into drama.

    • Wow! You bless me, Patrick! I would love for you to use that prayer as something you can pray in your own marriage. Let me know if you sense it helping you! I’m sorry that your wife is holding you to unfair standard. We “wives” are especially good at that! ha! But I’m so glad that you have risen above so much challenge from your younger days. You are quite the “overcomer!” Thanks for encouraging me!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Wow, Beth…this is a deep one, and like Mary, I love the names you’ve chosen.

    I think that grace is to a large degree situational; we might offer grace under that we never would have imagined, had circumstances been different. I’ll have to forbear to describe my specific example, but suffice it to say that if I let Connie loose, the damage would be worse than if I had merely walked through this with Patti, and turned the future over to Pete.

    Clear as mud, eh?

    I guess that sometimes the grace we offer can be no more nor less than a gentle wish that the ground be softened for a rain we will not live to see.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/05/your-dying-spouse-305-oversharing.html

    • Yes, applying grace certainly is situational. But most don’t even understand what saving grace is much less these other sides or “faces” of grace that God so richly provides for us. I totally understand how letting Patti and Pete be the way you handle a certain conflict. I have a similar situation in my life that I feel God restraining me in like yours. I only use Patti and Pete in that relational conflict, but it is so tempting for me to come at it with Connie!

      And as far as the grace you’ve extended, I’m sure it will bear fruit that you won’t see on this earth. But I’m praying you see it in heaven!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    Looks like I need to round up my posse of new best friends for my marriage and not leave any empty seats or gaps for the enemy to try to cozy up next to us. Remembering these names is an awesome tool – especially for my faulty memory. Great post!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • How funny, Bev! The “posse of grace!” I like it! But you bring up a good point–it is like providing ourselves with the best protection ever when we invite these grace faces and friends into our marriages. I’m so glad you liked the names. It does help it to be more memorable!

  • Sarah Geringer

    Hi Beth, I love your creative spin with the names. And your idea of adding “Pete” in those times of conflict is spot-on. Looking forward to the “Connie” discussion next time!

    • Thanks so much, Sarah! I’ve always liked using metaphors to get a point across. And giving names to these faces of grace was just one way to do that! I appreciate your kind words and am so glad to get to know you a bit better through the blogosphere!

  • Always enjoy your godly posts about marriage! Hard topic to write about, but you do it so well.

    • Thank you so much, Jenn! It is a hard topic, to be sure! I’m glad you see that! This series is stretching me–as all of my posts tend to do! Who knew that blogging would benefit me sometimes more than those I write to and for! Hugs to you!

  • I love your practical insights and how you’ve named the different ways of grace. So helpful!

    • Thank you, Valerie! I appreciate your kind words and encouragement here!

  • Susan

    I have to admit…I am usually the offender not my husband. So, I need to ponder on this one!

    • I’m glad it’s a “ponder-worthy” post for you, Susan! Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend! Have a blessed week!

  • Mandy Hughes

    Hello Beth, I love the nicknames for the ‘faces of grace’ 🙂 I will definitely remember “Pete” for times when I feel the gap begin to grow. Satan loves any room he can wriggle his way into, doesn’t he? Excellent reminder to combat against the enemy who comes to destroy.

    • Oh yes, the Enemy is right there taking advantage of that “gap time.” So thankful that God gives us so many tools or weapons for beating the devil back! Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

  • Jennifer Carner Gregg

    Marriage was instituted by God, there is no way in our younger years my husband and I would have made it without Christ; when we both settled down and put Christ in His proper place, the center of our marriage, things vastly improved. We still have bumps to contend with, we are both sinful humans, but with Christ in His proper place, those bumps are a lot easier to get over! I am visiting you today from Christian Blogging Link up

    • Amen to that! It was and is the same for me all throughout my marriage, Jenn. We would be divorced by now–long ago probably–if we hadn’t looked to Christ to give us the love and grace we need to forge a bond when barriers and “gaps” pop up everywhere. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • Beth, Again, I will have to come back and read over this later when I have more thinking time. I am always inspired and spurred on to work harder in my relationships when I read your blogs. Thank you.

  • Beth, I remember one time when my husband had promised to spend some time with me and at the last minute told me he was going to be with some friends that night instead. I was very hurt, but I didn’t say anything to him. After he life I asked the Lord to make him miserable! A little while later he returned and said he wanted to be with me. He’d felt miserable the whole drive to where he was going. So he turned around and came home!

  • rboerner

    Gap time negativity – I pout, I attempt to get back at him – maybe even a little passive aggressively. Unfortunately, when I forget to petition God in the mix my whole self takes over and causes more issues. So grateful God continues to extend grace to me!

  • Pingback: First Step to Confront with Grace – And Linkup()

  • Beth,
    Such a good way of looking at this! -Not allowing that gap for satan … I’m definitely remembering this the next time another conflict arises!
    Blessings, friend!
    Lori