Grace is an invitation to intimacy.
This is the sixth and final post in my series on choices that lead to The Path of Intimacy. Go here to see where this started and to get a complete list of the related posts in this series.
So far we’ve covered a number of choices that will help put and keep your marriage on the Path of Intimacy. We’ve addressed the fact that the deepest form of intimacy involves your whole being: spirit, soul (mind/heart/emotions) and body. We’ve seen the importance of being transparent and open, bringing the fullness of your self to your marriage, acknowledging the important role that trust plays in bringing about an atmosphere of living “naked without shame.” Last time we looked at the fact that you can have as much intimacy in your marriage as you choose to work for and that you can always have more if you go after it.
So what is left? What is the key ingredient that remains? Grace.
Grace is an invitation to intimacy
Grace is what keeps your marriage on the Path of Intimacy when other forces would knock you off.
Grace is nothing more than unmerited favor, mercy and kindness. Easy to say, but really hard to do. But grace is one of God’s most significant attributes and one that we would do well to mimic in marriage. It is God’s grace, mercy and loving-kindness that draws us near to him in intimacy. It’s his kindness that leads us to be transformed and renewed in the way we think and act, not his judgment or wrath (Romans 2:4). Grace has the same power to transform you and your spouse in your marriage.
“But wait,” you say. “You don’t know my [husband/wife]. You don’t know what I put up with!”
OK, I’ll admit it, I don’t. But here’s the crazy thing about grace: God knew everything about you, every sin and weakness, every bad choice, angry word and spiteful act you would ever commit, yet he chose to let his own Son, Jesus, be put to death so that he could have intimacy with you forever. That is grace. Ridiculous, extravagant grace. It is reckless mercy, and it is what we are called to duplicate.
“I’m not God,” you reply.
Neither am I. I’m not anywhere near as good at this grace thing as God is. Nobody will ever be. But I know enough to know that there is a promise in grace: that promise is intimacy. Grace is an invitation to intimacy.
Yes, our spouses are full of flaws and mistakes and at times will come out with unkind words and careless actions. As long as there are people involved in marriages, there will be pain. Plenty of it. Don’t let the pain knock you off the Path of Intimacy. At least not for long.
You have to want intimacy more than you want perfection.
It’s really that simple. I’m not saying it is easy. Quite the opposite, in fact. But I do know the power of grace. It’s simply amazing. (Wait, isn’t there a song about this Amazing Grace…)
So if it is the Path of Intimacy you want, choose the way of grace. Be extravagant in giving it and gracious in receiving it. It will do wonders for the intimacy in your marriage.