How Do I Extend Grace To My Spouse?
Marriage teaches you how to extend grace to sinners—especially your spouse. Each spouse will experience his/her own share of disappointments, defeats and deficiencies from his/her spouse. It is through these experiences that you will be challenged to be a minster of grace—showing favor to your spouse in spite of his/her problems in the same way God extended grace to you through Jesus.
All Of Grace—Experience Grace, Extend Grace
- Grace is unmerited by the receiver. Mankind was unsuccessful in living up to God’s standard of perfection. We sinned against Him and deserved death and eternal separation from Him. We absolutely failed Him. But God loved us. He didn’t want us to be eternally separated from Him. Therefore, He chose to make a way to save us. We did nothing to merit His love for us, but He choose to show grace—His free and unmerited favor. In marriage, there will be times when your spouse doesn’t live up to your “standard” for him/her and might not deserve you being good to him/her, but like God you should choose to extend grace—showing favor to him/her in spite of his/her failures.
Ephesians 2:5-8; Romans 3:10-12
- Grace is costly for the giver. Not only did we not deserve God’s goodness but we were unable to pay for the wrong we did. For God to make a way to save us by grace meant that He would take the responsibility of paying our debt. His Son, Jesus, would have to die in our place to make a way for our sins to be forgiven. Grace is like a gift. God is the Giver. He willingly bears the expense of saving us by sacrificing His Son. By the grace of God Jesus tasted death for every man. He gave up everything so that we “through His poverty might be rich”. We had no worth or value for God to accept us, but Him choosing to accept us by grace gave us the value and worth that we lacked. In marriage, when your spouse is unable or unwilling to make their wrongs right, you should choose to extend grace to him/her and it might be “costly” because you will have to bear the expense of it.
Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9-10
- Grace is free for the receiver. Just like a gift is received at no cost, salvation is received at no cost. Salvation is not earned. God offers salvation through grace, thus it can only be accepted by faith—meaning we choose to trust in Jesus’ works and not in our own works. By the grace of God we are saved. In marriage, you extend grace to your spouse without expecting anything in return—you aren’t keeping a record of the good things you have done for your spouse and expecting him/her to pay you back.
Romans 4:16; 11:6
Principles From Biblical Grace
- Extending grace to your spouse starts with growing in your relationship with Jesus. Grace is part of Jesus’ character. He is gracious. He lived a life that exemplified what it means to willingly show favor toward the unworthy and undeserving without forcing anything to be owed in return for it. As believers, we are to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus. This not only prevents believers from being led astray by false teaching, but it deepens our understanding about how to properly live out our faith. Also, the evidence of God’s grace in our lives and the lives of others should cause us to give thanks unto God. Therefore, in marriage you should extend grace by first cultivating your relationship with Jesus, so that you know how to extend grace like Jesus did.
2 Peter 1:2, 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:3-8; 15:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Timothy 2:1
- Extending grace to your spouse means using the right speech to minister to him/her. As believers, we are to stop sinning and start doing good works as we become more like Jesus. This includes the way that we communicate. We no longer allow “corrupt communication” to come out of our mouths. This kind of talk is offensive, useless and damaging. We are to intentionally refuse to respond with corrupt communicate. Instead, we are to have “good communication”. This kind of talk is respectful, useful and constructive. It means that you are trying to edify others and minister grace to or benefit the hearer even if he/she doesn’t deserve it. This not only includes “what” we say but also “how” we say it. Therefore, in marriage you should extend grace by communicating with your spouse in a gracious manner even if he/she responds with corrupt communication. You are to be gracious in what and how you say everything.
Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; Luke 4:22
- Extending grace to your spouse means doing more good things for your spouse than he/she deserves and greater than he/she imagines. As believers, we are on the receiving end of many incredible blessing from God. By grace God showed kindness toward us by sacrificing His Son for us; He has loved, forgave, justified and accepted us; He has given us everlasting consolation, good hope and will give us help in the time of need; He has given us eternal life. Therefore, in marriage you should extend grace by treating your spouse so good that it goes above and beyond all that he/she deserves or imagines.
Ephesians 1:6-7; 2:7; Hebrews 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7
Practical Wisdom, Good Judgment And Common Sense
- Absolute differences are predetermined characteristics before a person is born and can’t be changed. This includes: gender, time period of birth, body structure, skin color, nationality at birth, certain abilities or talents, parents or relatives and birth order. Your spouse was fearfully and wonderfully made by God, so you should graciously accepting your spouse and his/her “unchangeable characteristics” as God’s creation.
- Relative differences are a result of a person’s upbringing, culture, relationships or other external factors. These include: personalities, tastes, viewpoints, instincts, ideas and opinions. These aren’t always “right and wrong” differences, but they cause many problems in marriage because it means you have to prefer your spouse over yourself—which is hard to do unless you extend grace. Your spouse doesn’t have to be the same as you, but you should graciously appreciate his/her differences.
- Moral differences are a result of a person’s relationship with God and understanding of the Bible. This includes: salvation, struggle with sin and spiritual maturity. Your spouse will have many spiritual disappointments, defeats and deficiencies, but you need to remember that all of the goodness in you is only because of God’s grace. He is working all things together for your good and the good of your spouse if you love Him. Therefore, you should graciously build up your spouse and not pridefully tear him/her down.
1 Corinthians 15:10; Romans 8:28-29
- What does “grace is unmerited” mean?
- Grace is costly for who?
- Grace is free for who?
- What are three ways we can extend grace?
- What are three types of differences in marriage?