“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”  Ro 5:20 NIV

You need a lot of grace in marriage. Even in the best of relationships, things happen that cause misunderstanding and hurt. Speaking about his marriage, therapist Michael Sytsma says: “Before I was married, God said, ‘Mike, you have some rough edges. To help you become more Christlike, I’m giving you Karen. That should do the trick.’ So he brought Karen…into my life to identify all my shortcomings. My first response when she points out my flaws? Not gratitude! Instead, I strike back: ‘How dare you point out those things? What’s your problem?’ Then I have the opportunity of either denying my feelings, or owning them and maturing. And Karen can either harbor anger and resentment, or offer grace and forgiveness. Imagine a marriage filled with grace: a spouse who extends joy, pleasure, sweetness, kind speech and unmerited favor. My wife does that. I’m still working at it.”

Here is the first of four ways you can show grace to your spouse: (1) Try to look at it differently. Focus on the positive. If you think your spouse is stubborn, feeling loving toward them is hard. But if you exercise grace and choose to see them as persistent and tenacious, loving them becomes much easier. If they’re disorganized, by grace you can choose to see that as a sign they are spontaneous, or creative, or the flexible type, or even over-extended. “You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things…noble… gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Php 4:8 TM). People usually try to live up to the image you hold of them!