I have been with my husband for close to 13 years, and there have been a few things I have learned. Recently in the chaos of parenthood and returning from vacation, we had a crazy moment of kids screaming, appliances malfunctioning and tired parents which resulted in me having my own “mommy breakdown” that we all try so hard to avoid. In that moment, I wanted to act exactly how my kids act sometimes when they don’t get their way – I wanted to kick, scream and cry.
As my husband noticed me about to my breaking point, he looked at me and calmly said “Step away, go for a drive – relax.” Of course, my initial reaction was “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” since we had just gotten OUT of the car, but then I quickly realized he was right — I needed to step away. I went and sat in my room, calmed down and found the little bit of composure I had left. After the kids were in bed, my husband gave me a huge hug and let me go to sleep. As I was going to sleep I thought “Thank you God that my husband gives me grace.” There could have been 1,000 different ways for him to respond, but he chose to respond with love and support instead of frustration or anger.
In that moment, my husband showed me grace. I like to think of grace as giving someone what they don’t deserve. I didn’t deserve that huge hug or the patience that he showed me, but he gave it to me anyway because he loves me.
A lot of times in marriage we want to keep score with our spouses. You know the drill … I woke up early the past two Saturdays with OUR kids, it is MY turn to sleep late. I completely get it, we want to divide everything evenly but I have learned that keeping tabs, score or treating a marriage 50/50, fails. You see both of us have to give 100% to our marriage in order for us and our family to be happy. Sometimes, giving 100% means doing things for your spouse that they don’t deserve. We try to work as a team with a common goal – at the end of the day our goal is happy, healthy, well-rounded children and a healthy relationship with each other. We together accomplish that goal, not going against each other.
Showing grace to your spouse will change your marriage. You will notice all of the things that your spouse does that a lot of times go unnoticed. You will realize that reacting in love instead of anger will help you and your spouse develop more respect for each other. Reacting with grace and love will show your children how to treat others around you. They will be able to take that lesson on to school and share with others. If you forgive with grace and accept an apology graciously, you will begin to see how your spouse is feeling. This is not a time to tell them what they should have done differently; just accept their apology. They are recognizing that they messed up, which we all do.
I want to challenge you to show grace to your spouse. Serve your spouse with no strings attached, do it because you love them not because of something they have done or not done. Forgive your spouse just as we have been forgiven. Let your spouse have a safe place to talk and you listen. Give them love and support in what they are working on, throw out the score board, and remember that we all need forgiveness sometimes. If there is anything that I have learned so far in my marriage is that we both mess up (A LOT), and the only way we can make this work is with a lot of forgiveness, love and grace.