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Marriage Mondays is evolving! And changes are good. Over the next several months, MM will be hosted on a different blog each month, giving us an opportunity to get to know some other great bloggers out there (and give Chrysalis a much deserved rest from hosting). The topics are also going to be more thematic. Each month there will be a topic of "The __________ of Christian Marriage" with the blank being the month's theme. I'm really excited to see what will be written in the coming months. The topic this month is GRACE. Our guest hostess this month is Robyn at Overflowing Grace (how appropriate!) so be sure and visit her as well.
About eighteen months ago I was challenged to never say anything negative about German in social settings. I was so tired of being around Christian women who spent way too much time complaining about what their husbands had done (or not done), how their husbands spent their time or what their husbands wanted. These were committed believers. Their husbands were solid Christians, leaders in the community and church, good providers and loving family men. Yet it would have been difficult to decipher that from the conversations that could be overheard. Please hear me correctly, no one was making dire accusations in these conversations. These are the "my husband never helps with the house" or "my husband would rather watch football than spend time with the family." But we all know, in reality, that type of talk is always filled with exagerration and only serves to make someone else look bad.
In that company, it becomes easy to focus on negative things. But the more I read and prayed and sought God's leadership in my marriage, the more I became determined that this type of conversation was disrespectful and therefore sinful. Even if I had such issues, it would be disrespectful to air them to the world for the sole purpose of making my husband look bad. I would not want German to air the areas where I fall short to his friends either. That would feel disrespectful and unloving.
Yet, none of us are married to perfect mates. And none of us are the perfect mate. We all have shortcomings. There are things that are going to irritate us about our partners. Other things are going to make us downright unhappy. If left unchecked, our emotions about these things can get the better of us. That is where grace in marriage is so important. Grace says, "you may not deserve my patience or my forgiveness, but I'll give it to you anyway." Grace says, "I may be the most unlovable person on the planet today, yet you are still reaching out to me and I will accept it." Grace is treating our partner with the love and respect that God says show them even when they don't deserve it. Grace is allowing our spouse to reach out to us when we know we don't deserve it. Grace cannot be earned, it is the conduit of allowing God's love to flow through us and guide our marriage in spite or our human failings. Without grace, we are going to fail in our marriages because we cannot ever totally please another person in our human strength, nor can we be satisfied with what they have to offer in their humanness. Grace is the part of the equation that places God in the middle of satisfying one another.
It has been, and will continue to be a journey. Yet I do find that my conversations with other wives are more edifying. It only takes one person to say "but look at all the good things he/she does" to shut down the negative feast on someone's shortfalls. In fact, lots of positive attributes have been professed as one begins to season their speech with respectful and loving comments. I am a more respectful wife because I have allowed grace to be the main ingredient of all I say about German. And the funny thing is, his actions aren't nearly as irritating when I'm focusing on and looking for the positive. I don't even see the things that would have been my complaints a year ago. They may, or may not, still be there. The eyes of grace are not seeing them. Hopefully, he is able to say the same about my actions.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.