12.03.2014

Equally Yoked: Grace in Marriage

With us today for Equally Yoked is Rachel. Rachel is also a newlywed (sensing a pattern?)! Her heart is so full of kindness and her words always have this way of impacting my heart. She's also a labor and delivery nurse, something I am absolutely fascinated by! Her topic for today is perfect because if you know anything about this lady you know she is FULL of GRACE. I hope you stay around a while and learn about this woman's wisdom yourself; I know you won't regret it.
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This series has challenged me and encouraged me and I'm so excited to be a part of it today. I'm Rachel from Rachel Rewritten, and I blog about life, Jesus, marriage, and all the little things in between. I've been married for close to a year now, and while I'm far from an expert on a successful marriage, I'm learning day by day what it takes to make a marriage work. If I had to give a soon-to-be married couple one piece of advice, it would be to learn the importance of grace in marriage. God's grace is sufficient for us, and we need to learn to give it freely to those we love, especially our spouses.

Andrew and I have a rhythm. Somehow, through the days and months, we've learned each other's actions and moods and work together like a well-oiled machine. He goes one way, I instinctively fall in to step and react to whatever he throws my way, and vice versa. It works for us--somehow and some way, we've grown together in this almost-year of marriage. The days go by smoothly and methodically; there are rarely hiccups in our system, and for that I am grateful.

Until we have a day when all goes awry. Every now and then, our well-oiled machine seems to break down, needing a little extra attention or care. Our rhythm is lost, and therefore, all of our kindness and patience disappears too. It usually starts off with a bad day for one of us, then a harsh word turned into anger, and thus, us getting tangled up in our human emotions, becoming bitter or passive. 

It happened last week, and it wasn't fun. I was in a terrible mood and took it out on him, simply because he was there. And it wasn't fair. Somewhere, deep inside of me, God grabbed a hold and said, "Rachel, calm down and let it go. Give him grace and tell him you're sorry."

Letting it go. It takes us admitting our sins, forgiving each other, and giving grace over and over again for us to get back to ourselves. And boy, is it hard. Grace means getting something we don't deserve. Grace makes us humble, grateful, generous, and willing to serve. If there is any institution in this world that needs those things, it's marriage. And without grace, a marriage won't work.

If I've learned anything in marriage, it's that grace abounds daily. Forgiveness and kindness and compassion are crucial, but they're worthless if you don't give grace. Giving grace gives hope; grace desires the best for him, even when we have the tendency to harbor resentment.

Marriage is designed by God to reflect our relationship with Christ. The grace shown to us by Jesus is the kind of grace I should be showing to my husband. Most of what hurts us in marriage hurts us simply because grace is absent. We say "you owe me" to our spouses, when it's not only false, but also harmful to his spirit and to our growth as a couple. 

The more I learn about grace, I realize how hard it is to live out. It's easy for us to talk about it and understand it, but when it comes to putting our thoughts to actions, it seems nearly impossible at times. 

 So how do we give grace to our husbands? How do we show him grace to strengthen our marriage and keep us deeply connected? 

1) We have to realize we're not perfect. Neither of us. There will be mistakes made, there will be feelings hurt, and there will be harsh words exchanged at times. In order to give grace, we have to first forgive. There is no growth in a marriage when a spouse doesn't feel loved or accepted. Forgiveness is key to make a change for the better.

2) Second, we have to be truthful and genuine. If we forgive but don't forget and hold onto bad feelings, we're only hurting ourselves. When we lead with anger instead of kindness or patience, disagreements become fights, motives are questioned, and assumptions are made. I'm slowly learning how to show kindness and patience first, because that sets the tone for the whole day.

3) Be selfless. Realize that it's not about us in this moment. Our marriage isn't about making me happy, but rather making him happy and giving God the glory  It's about loving someone else, giving to someone else, and being selfless to him, just as Christ was to us. There are times where we must die to ourselves and put our spouse first, but isn't that what Christ called us to do in the first place? I'm learning to practice selflessness and it makes all the difference.

4) Lastly, the biggest thing I've learned is that I need to go to the Lord first with my concerns and frustrations. I'm quick to place blame on him when I'm angry, when in reality, I need to be looking at my sin too. Leaving God out of the situation leaves us hopeless, struggling with our emotions and nowhere to turn. 

When you connect your heart to the grace of God, your marriage is completely changed for the better. 

Do you feel that giving grace is hard sometimes? How have you learned to show grace and selflessness to your husband?

Connect with Rachel

See more from the series HERE.  

13 comments :

  1. This post is so spot on for me! Even with being a very much newlywed, I have learned how to give grace throughout my last few years with my husband. I wasn't able to fully give grace for the longest time, but once I really began to experience the love of Jesus, giving grace to my husband (and others!) has become almost second nature. I always think, "If Jesus can do this, then I have no reason not to do this."

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  2. Rachel is one of my favorite bloggers and favorite people. I love how she integrates grace into all aspects of her life and especially into her marriage. Well done, Rach!

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  3. This is SO good Rachel. Grace in marriage is definitely a lesson that takes time to learn. Love your tips and your heart.

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  4. YES, but it doesn't come without its struggles. I'm not a great forgiver so that's something I'm constantly working on

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  5. TIME is absolutely key, but even little steps can make a huge difference!

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  6. Yes and Amen! So thankful for grace from the Lord and from our husbands! I need to be better about extending it though! Love this!

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  7. ​That is so true! It's a constant effort (for me) to remember to be active in grace giving. There are some days though that I'm so frustrated and I think, "I'm not giving any grace out!" LOL!

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  8. I definitely need to be better too!! it's a daily struggle for me but it's always a good reminder. Thanks so much for reading!

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  9. Sweet Madison! Thank you. And yes, I'm learning slowly just HOW important it really is. I don't think I'll ever be "good" at it, but thankful that the Lord gives us grace freely, just as we should for each other!

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  10. Thanks, sweet Ashten. You are the best encourager there is! I try to integrate grace, but boy, is it hard sometimes! I'm the least patient person sometimes but i have to remember that marriage isn't about ME, it's about us.

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  11. AMEN girl. Amen. It's so hard to just give it naturally but I'm learning. I hope that it will come to be second nature for me one day. I hold grudges and get my feelings hurt, but I'm just as guilty of hurting feelings sometimes too. The Lord is still working on me and I'm thankful for that!

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