Grace is what allows you to run toward your spouse when you’ve messed up.
I read this in a Joyce Meyer devotional last week.
The grace of God is greater than our sin or any other problem that we may have. You might be feeling guilty and tempted to shrink from God’s presence, but He wants you to run to Him, not away from Him.
As I often do, when I read this I immediately thought of the marriage parallel.
We all have times when we blow it big-time with our spouse. We say something unkind, maybe deliberately. We don’t do something we said we would do, or we do something we promised not to do. We betray a confidence, break a trust or speak ill of our spouse behind their back. The list of possible screw-ups is endless.
We’ve all done things we wished we hadn’t.
Which Way Do You Run?
When you make a mess in your marriage, which way do you run? Do you turn away from your spouse to run and hide, making excuses and avoiding blame. Or do you turn toward your spouse with a sincere desire to make amends and re-establish your connection?
In the same way that shame and fear cause us to run from God, so too it is with our spouse. But when grace and love permeate your relationship, it allows you to run toward your spouse, just as it does in your relationship with God.
Running away widens the gap between you at just the time when what you really need is to close the gap. Sure it feels safer to distance yourself from the person you’ve offended, but separation is never the solution. Intimacy is.
Grace is an Invitation to Intimacy
The best way to ensure that your spouse extends grace to you when you’ve blown it is to work toward an atmosphere of grace in your marriage.
And the best way to fill your marriage with grace is to first experience the overwhelming and extravagant grace of God toward you and your spouse – to allow grace to have its full effect in your own life. Then, when your spouse messes up, make every effort to respond with that same grace and love. Don’t turn away in offense. Don’t distance yourself in retribution. Reach out, extend grace and strive to maintain intimacy through the trouble.
Grace is contagious! The more you extend grace, the more you shift the atmosphere of your marriage toward grace, and the more likely it is that you’ll receive that same kind of grace when you need it. It’s not a guarantee, of course, but it definitely improves the odds.
The Fruit of Grace
Ask yourself this question: How different would your marriage be if your spouse never, ever doubted that you truly love him or her?
And suppose that you never ever doubted your spouse’s love for you? How delightful would your marriage be if you lived every moment in celebration of the secure love you share and never had to strive to earn love?
This the fruit of grace: confidence in love. Security, trust and peace grow in a marriage filled with grace.
So the next time you feel tempted to turn away and hide from your spouse because you’ve made a mess of things, stop yourself. Make a deliberate turn toward him or her, trust in their love, and seek to maintain your connection while you clean things up.