I talk a lot on my blog about how to address sexual issues with your spouse, how to speak about your longing for physical intimacy, how to pursue a stronger bond in the marriage bed. It’s often about making sure your interactions with your spouse are calm, unselfish, well-considered, loving, and respectful.
If only I took all of my own advice. Rather — like you — I have those moments in marriage when the stress of the day and the frustration of the moment and the pain of my heart all come together and I blurt out something completely unhelpful. Even though I know that “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), I opt for the harsh word.
Or maybe I keep the words in my mouth, but they come out in an eye roll or a snort or turning away. I’ve also been known to mutter to myself, the tone of which could hardly be mistaken for anything but complaints.
This is not my pattern, but it is a failing of mine from time to time. And probably for you too. Likely you say something in a way you didn’t mean to say it, or you just lose your composure in a bad moment and declare something like, “For heaven’s sake, I need sex and you owe it to me!”
Or maybe it’s your spouse who does that.
In marriage, sometimes we blow it.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” As my father used to say, “Even perfect people use pencils with erasers.” Because we all make mistakes. We all fail. We all sin.
And so, we all need grace.
Grace can be defined as “the unmerited favor of God toward man” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology). But we have in our Christian vernacular begun to talk more and more about giving one another grace, that unmerited favor. Certainly, as we seek to be more like Christ, we would want to approach people as Christ does — with an attitude of grace.
How do we adopt an attitude of grace? We pray for it.
Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Our time of need may be grace we need from the Father, or grace we need to give to our spouse. But when we approach God’s throne, we come there in prayer.
We ask God to help us show favor toward our spouse, even when they blow it. Just as we’d like our spouse to show favor toward us when we blow it.
So instead of immediately reacting to what your spouse says, or does, or how your interpret the words and actions, you take a step back. Feeling a sense of peace as you let God’s grace fill you, you can then ask questions about what your mate really meant. Or simply consider the possibility that their day went badly and they’re super-stressed. You can stop taking everything personally, like how he left things out that you would have put away. You begin to see better interpretations. You remember that your beloved chose you, loves you, and is still here with you — and that counts for something.
Looking at this in terms of your marriage bed, even a sexual rejection is often not personal. It’s not about you. It’s about the bad day he had, the exhaustion and stress he’s feeling, the testosterone that isn’t working quite like it used to, or maybe even the insecurity of feeling he can’t satisfy you completely. It could be about sexual baggage your spouse still carrying. Or that wayward glance at a pretty woman in the restaurant, while a poor choice, might have been a momentary lapse back to his pre-devoted-to-you days and he might be internally kicking himself for that one. Even in that heated argument when he finally erupts and says what you think he really believes deep down — that all he really wants from you is sex, sex, sex — it might not be what you think. It might just be his foot-in-mouth, we-all-sin moment.
How about we give each other some grace?
How about we pray for grace for our spouse?How about we give each other some grace? How about we pray for grace for our spouse? Click To Tweet
One way to start is simply to ask God to help you see your beloved with the same unmerited favor God gives His children: Lord, help me to see my husband the way you see him. Help me to show grace in this situation and in our marriage. Give me your eyes, your heart, your love for my beloved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When your spouse blows it, try something like that. Pray for grace. You might be surprised how that will help you see things in a different light.
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Please pray for our listeners to have grace for us as we work out difficult technical/audio issues. We have received many complaints, and I simply cannot tell you how frustrating/disheartening this has been after months of preparation and a huge learning curve. But we are determined to fix the problems and appreciate the suggestions we’ve received. (If you have others, please email us at forchristianwives [at] gmail [dot] com rather than commenting here.) In the meantime, please pray that those who give our podcast a listen will extend grace to us, listen to our content, and stay tuned for future episodes. We appreciate your prayers.
8 thoughts on “Praying for Grace in Your Marriage”
What about when you find out your husband of 2 years has been addicted to pornogrophy since he was 11 and lied to you since the first day you met? You both were waiting for wedding day for first kiss and keeping self pure only to find out he’s been cheating on you all along?
Since he was eleven? Boys of eleven who are exposed to porn are victims of this crazy industry, and I have a ton of compassion for that kid. Yes, he should have told you. Yes, he should have kicked the habit. Yes, it’s understandable how you feel cheated on. But maybe if you can imagine your husband as a tender boy of eleven being sucked into that horrible world and how it twisted up his mind and decision-making, maybe then you can look at where you are, where you want to be, and — with grace — get help. XXX Church has good resources, including help for men addicted to porn and help for wives who have been sexually betrayed. You have a journey ahead of you, but other couples have gone through such a journey and come out the other side healed and happy they stayed. Praying for you.
Thanks for the reminder about grace- we all need it
about the podcast: yeah, I heard a few issues with the sound. But the content was so much what I needed to hear. Thank you for taking the time to record such thoughts. I’ve got young children, and I turn 40 this summer. Not sure I’m a “young mom”, but I sort of am b/c I have littles. All y’alls thoughts really spoke to me. Thank you.
And I need this reminder about grace. Its so true, we all need it. But we all forget that we need it.
Thanks so much!
Hurt Beyond Words, you are absolutely justified in being hurt beyond words. The pain you are experiencing is horrifying. I suffered agonizing pain from being sexually abused as a boy, so I know it is impossible for me, on my own, to forgive. But then I remember the pain and grief I give my Lord, and He died for me anyway. My wife and I caused great pain to each other over many years. But we have experienced God’s healing. I can’t possibly forgive, but the Holy Spirit can enable me to do so. It took years, but I finally realized that I was commanded to forgive, not to feel forgiving. Actions, not feelings. And at age 58, I was finally able to let the burden go.
You are suffering, that is obvious, and you deserve deep compassion. Some people say that time heals all wounds. That is a lie. Only the blood of Christ can provide healing to your heart, and to your marriage. Right now you need to experience God’s grace, long before you’ll be able to extend that grace to your husband. But know that, though the road may be long and hard, there is grace enough and to spare at the cross.
In the meantime, keep praying. Sometimes the hurt is so deep all you can pray for is the grace to stay sane. Sometimes God works big miracles, and I hope that happens for your marriage. But usually it’s the little miracles of making it through another day alive and still married. I hope you have some fellow believers you can lean on. Even Moses had to have Aaron and Hur hold up his arms when he was weary in the middle of the battle.
Re: the podcast
I’m only halfway through the second episode but I want to thank you for doing them! I had low expectations regarding sound quality going in (based on what you’ve written here; that you’d received complaints), and as I listened, I honestly thought, “What’s the problem? It’s not that bad at all.” I could hear all of you speaking clearly.
ALSO, the fact that you’re doing this at all and the quality of CONTENT you are presenting is what it’s about. And you were so nice to start out with THREE episodes for us to listen to!
So don’t get discouraged. Keep pressing on to get this message out there. And thank you, all of you, for your ministry to Christian wives.
Aw, thank you! We really appreciate that. Blessings.
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