I just read a great book, written by Dr Tim and Darcy Kimmel titled, Grace Filled Marriage. We highly recommend that you read it. It can change your marriage in amazing ways.
And then we heard a wonderful interview with Max Lucado on the role of grace in marriage. We’d like to share a few of the points that Tim, and also Max made concerning giving grace within marriage. Both spoke deeply to our hearts and we hope they will with you too.
Tim Kimmel said something true. “Most marriages don’t struggle from a lack of love; they struggle from a lack of grace.” He defines grace as something that God gives. “It’s giving favor they need, but they don’t deserve.” That’s what God gives us.
Grace has also been defined as G.R.A.C.E. = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Giving grace costs us something, just as it did when God gave it and gives it to us.
Treat Spouse as God Treats Us
Max Lucado said,
If I’m going to treat my spouse with grace, I need to turn it around and ask, ‘How has God treated me?’ He has loved me and forgiven me, but He’s also really clear. He says, ‘There are some things I don’t want you to do.’
And He lets us know what they are. So, if I’m going to give my spouse grace, we approach it the same way. As Max Lucado said,
“Grace is not naivety; it’s not turning a blind eye. Grace is turning the focus toward Jesus. Grace is not silence. It prompts us to be honest and to say, ‘I love you and because I love you, we’re not going to do this anymore.’ Grace prompts us to be clear about boundaries and expectations, and creates conversation.”
Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves
Tim Kimmel wrote about how sometimes we give less to our spouse than we expect to receive ourselves.
“We are more inclined to condemn when we’ve lost sight of the enormous forgiveness we’ve received from God. But we can rise above this in a grace-filled marriage. My wife Darcy and I have found that our relationship is better when we preach the gospel to ourselves individually every day. It’s important that we remember the undeserved grace God has given us. It’s much easier to look past the pointed edge of our spouse’s sin—even with its personal cost to us—when we focus on their desperate need for rescue.”
It’s the same rescue we expect God to give to us.
Below is something else Tim wrote. We have witnessed it to be true in our marriage, and in the marriage of others. It concerns giving our spouse freedom to be vulnerable.
Grace-filled marriages recognize that there are things that knock a spouse off their game, things that need to be treated with tenderness, understanding, and patience. These are things like monthly cycles, pink slips, moving, rebellious children, and bad health reports.
We need to create an atmosphere within our marriage where our spouse doesn’t feel they have to wear a mask around us to keep from revealing where they are emotionally. They need to know that the deeper hurt or confusion within their heart can come out without fear of being attacked.
We all need that, don’t we? We hope your spouse gives that to you. But none-the-less, it’s important to give it to them, whether they give it to us, or not. It’s important to be dispensers of grace as God’s children. We should do no less, giving glory to God through our actions.
Tim also writes:
“We are called to raise our spouse’s sense of security by loving them in a way that causes them to grow more confident about how dearly they are loved by us. A secure love makes it much easier to give and receive grace.”
This calling comes from God, and so does the empowerment to do so, as we look to Him to help us.
We hope you will prayerfully consider what we just shared. We know it’s a lot to take in. But it’s important stuff that many spouses who are Christ followers forget. May we not fall forget, as well.
In conclusion, here’s one last quote from Tim Kimmel. It’s something we hope we ALL can live out.
“True marital greatness is a passionate love for Jesus Christ that shows itself in unquenchable love and concern for each other.”
May you, and may we never forget to live this love out within our marriages.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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