What Extending Grace Looks like in Marriage – Plus Linkup

One of the things that has often confounded me is, when do I extend grace? Is it all the time? And what does grace even look like, especially in marriage?

I think of grace like forgiveness—letting something go. After all, the Lord certainly has let go of the need to punish me for my sin—dying in my place so that I could receive His grace and forgiveness. #savinggrace

Grace

Why shouldn’t I do the same—extend grace every single time—to others who offend me, in particular, to my spouse?

I think I should!

But . . .

There’s always a “but”—now isn’t there?

In Matthew 18:15-17, we’re given the proper protocol for dealing with someone who sins against us. It involves layers of grace, but also deepening levels of truth and confrontation.

Well then . . . does truth replace grace? (Envision the “Church Lady” saying that last line!)

Sorry, church lady, I don’t think so.

I just think that “grace” takes on different forms or “faces,” if you will, depending on the need of the moment.

Today I want to look at the first face of grace in my new series, The Many Faces of Grace.

Proverbs 12:16 clearly illustrates what this “face” looks like and how it acts . . .

“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”

This is when grace is accepting and patient. It also involves forgiveness and humility.

I can only access this grace unless I remember that I am just as much a sinner as my offender—who just might be my husband a lot of the time! 😉

When I was first married, I tried to “extend grace” under the guise of “tolerance.” Somewhere along the line I adopted the belief that as Christians we should tolerate the sins others commit against us. I  believed that to do that—tolerate—was to act Christlike!

What was I thinking?

Nothing could be further from the truth!

There’s a huge difference between gritting my teeth and stuffing my anger in “tolerance,” compared to trusting God to be the Holy Spirit (after all, He “is!”) in my mate or someone else’s life—letting the anger and frustration go in surrender to the Lord.

My husband called me on the whole “tolerance theory” back in the day. He encouraged me to be open with my feelings in any given moment. He was sorry he encouraged that! 😉

I think we both had missed how God’s grace is the first and foremost way to respond in times of conflict or hurt.

That means that I need to change my thinking to be more like Christ’s, and not take my husband’s actions so personally. After all, jumping to conclusions makes me a . . . uh . . . What was it?

“Fool?”

I, personally, don’t like the sound of that!

But what if I did that—jumped to a conclusion? Then I must “cool my jets” with God’s refreshing and transformational grace.

How do I do both of those God-sized tasks?

I run to the Savior’s arms for comfort and perspective, instead of running from my problem out of “tolerance” (My past way of dealing with conflict).

And . . .

I rest in the Father’s care, instead of trying to fix my conflict with human openness and logic that—without grace—leads only to debate and more conflict (My husband’s former way to deal with conflict).

The question that inevitably surfaces for me is . . .

When is it unhealthy or “enabling” to overlook an insult or sin in my spouse or another offender?

That’s where I will pick up next week, in this series, “The Many Faces of Grace.”

If you have a question about how to extend grace in marriage, please email me or mention it in the comments. I’d love to address my reader’s questions in this ongoing series.

 

What fears do you have about extending grace to your spouse?

 

How has extending grace brought healing to your marriage or other relationships?

 

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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  • pioneerpat1

    I guess you can say I try to always forgive but my problem is forgetting.

    Thanks for hosting and have a good rest of the week.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Love this, Beth!

    Grace is indeed ‘letting it go’,and is a part of forgiveness. And I have learned – I think so, anyway – that forgiveness is not a requirement for Heaven, a hoop we have to jump through…it’s a prerequisite for being able to enjoy the place. Eternity with a mite of unforgiveness in our hearts, in those Holy precincts, would be a self-made hell.

    And forgiveness isn’t ‘doing’. It’s BEING.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/04/your-dying-spouse-302-im-not-me-anymore.html

    • Susan

      ooh…Andrew, expound on this: “Forgiveness is not a requirement for heaven….” yes, please.

  • Honestly, for me this looks like just keeping my mouth shut. Especially if I’ve managed to extend grace initially — I don’t need to let him know that I’ve just graced him out.

  • Susan

    Your “food for thought” question made me chuckle. When do I extend grace? As often as my good, good Father extends it to me!!! Of course, there are situations when we extend grace and separate for a season (if necessary). These are extreme but nevertheless, necessary at times. You’ll enjoy my blog today! xoxoxo

  • faces of grace. mmm … I never thought of it that way. I’m appreciating your wise perspective yet once again, friend.

    could you give me some CEUs?

    ;-}

  • Good stuff…I really like this… We both missed how God’s grace is the first and foremost way to respond in times of conflict.

  • Intriguing series! Never heard of the “faces of grace” before. We so often hear about the grace God extends to us, but rarely talk about the grace we need to extend to those around us. I heard a pastor describe grace as “the ability to do the will of God.” It makes sense, although I haven’t found that definition in the Greek.

  • Mary

    You have given us just enough today to draw us back in next week. Grace is a tricky thing and I can’t wait to see how you address overlooking a sin or insult. I know you will teach me some things about grace that I wished I had known years ago. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • Extending grace has helped me to ‘minimize’ the number of times I get offended at something my husband says or does. I am working and trusting God to reduce those times to ‘almost never’.
    Extending grace gets easier when we walk in God’s word and His grace which He has giving us, knowing that we are no better than our spouses but need grace everyday. Something to definitely chew on till next week Beth, many thanks.
    Have a super blessed day!
    love

  • Beth, I think extending grace when we feel wounded feels like we’re overlooking justice or setting ourselves up to be hurt again. We must show grace and build healthy boundaries. It takes God’s grace to know what that looks like!

  • Oh boy, Beth. This is full. I’m bookmarking it to come back to when I have more time to really dig into it. I’m really looking forward to next week, too. Thank you for these insights and this wisdom from His Word.

  • Amanda Cox

    Beth,
    I smiled when I read the title of your post. I feel like this is such an overlooked need in our marriage relationships. I’m a fiction writer and I’ve written an allegorical novel about a wife’s journey to learn what it is to extend grace to her husband’s brokenness when that brokenness has caused her great personal loss. This concept of learning how to show grace in our relationships is dear to my heart. Keep writing on this important topic! 🙂

  • Amy Boyd

    Hi Beth. thanks for sharing today! Even though I’m not married, I appreciate the reminder to differentiate between giving grace and being tolerant. I think that’s a great thing for me to dwell on and examine in my life. Glad to be your neighbor today at #coffeeforyourheart

  • This looks like it will be a great series. I love how you described the Matthew 18 passage as “layers of grace.” Thanks for hosting. I’ll be looking forward to next week’s post. Have a great rest of the week.

  • Julie Loos

    Beth- this series sounds great! Pondering the differences between grace and tolerance.
    Thank you!
    #SittingAmongFriends

  • I don’t have any particular fears — like my wife would “take advantage”, or that it would encourage “bad behaviour”?

    For me extending grace means trusting my wife loves me and means me well, so if she snaps or blows up at me, or doesn’t do “her fair share” of chore X, there will be a good reason or at least shall we say a cause. Extending grace means acknowledging the good in my wife, acknowledging all the other things going on, and interpreting any friction in that context.

    Thinking like that extends the grace into me to because instead of retaliating or harbouring resentment, I praise her beauty (not always out loud a that moment), praise God, and draw closer to my wife.

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