“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” 2Co 5:17 NKJV
Here are three more steps to treating your spouse with grace: (1) See them as God created them to be. Focusing on your partner’s flaws doesn’t help either of you. The Pharisees saw only the worst in the woman caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t minimize her sin, but chose to see what she could become through grace. “I don’t condemn you. Go, and stop what you’re doing” (See Jn 8:11). Grace enables you to see beyond your spouse’s upsetting ways and work with God in helping them become the “new creature” He’s called them to be. (2) Celebrate them. Too often we try to impose on our spouse our desired image of them. We resent them and insist they change, see it our way, and do things to our required standard. If they don’t, we think they’re inconsiderate, unloving, even un-Christian. Grace doesn’t operate that way! It understands, accepts, forgives, and leaves changing others up to God. Try telling yourself, “Yes, that annoys me, but I wonder what God’s trying to work out in my spouse.” Then step back, love and accept them and let God work on them. (3) Forgive them. Your spouse will irritate you at times because of what they are. We’re all different. She thinks she’s detailed; he thinks she’s nit-picking. He thinks he’s laid-back; she thinks he’s lazy. We act out the image we hold of ourselves, and that’ll change only when God changes it! Acknowledge your intolerance and forgive your partner’s irritating behaviors—even before they do them. That’s “pre-emptive forgiveness,” the kind that denies resentment a toe-hold on your marriage.