I didn’t even know my need until I saw the effect it was having on my marriage. Something was wrong between us. We weren’t connecting. We weren’t communicating. We were at odds living our normal everyday life. On the outside everything moved forward as it always did, but on the inside a discontent was growing in my heart.
Have you ever been there? Thinking thoughts about your spouse, your marriage and your life that you know aren’t for building up? I’d be surprised if you said NO. We all have temptations to be discontent. The Israelites displayed this over and over for us in the Old Testament. None of the good God did for them lasted long enough for them to really change. Given the next hardship they were right back grumbling and complaining, and as a result they became a stench in God’s nostrils.
But thanks be to God that was under the Old Law. If I had lived then, I would have been no different. We are blessed to live under the law of grace–amazing grace. And this grace provides a way of escape from the shackles of discontent that would destroy all I hold dear.
I felt like my heart was far away and that it would take a long process to bring in back to where it should be. I told Tom I desperately needed a date night where we could talk. So we planned it.
I never want to get used to the look on Tom’s face when he hears what I’ve been thinking. It’s a mixture of confusion, hurt and disappointment. And knowing that my words have caused those looks works like a healing salve on my heart that softens it for repentance.
My time to talk is finished, and it’s Tom’s turn to respond. After pulling away to the restroom–most likely to pray, he returns with love, compassion and what I needed most–wisdom.
Time after time in our marriage we’ve encountered roadblocks like this one. Either I caused it, or Tom caused it, or extenuating circumstances caused it. Whatever the cause–the answer is always the same–Grace! We need to extend grace to each other in our times of need. We need to pray for our marriage for the wisdom that alone comes from God. He knows the timely word or analogy we need to hear in order to set our focus aright.
I’m grateful for that night and for the breakthrough God provided. It literally feels as if the monkey has been removed from my back, where he was whispering ugly things in my ear. The saddest part of it all is that I listened to him.
In his book Grace-Filled Marriage, Dr. Tim Kimmel explains:
Grace isn’t blind. Nor is it without nerve endings. A call to a grace-filled marriage doesn’t mean we ignore, trivialize, or excuse our spouse’s unacceptable behavior. Grace doesn’t mean we lose our voice when it comes to dealing head-on with things that are clearly out of line. And grace doesn’t remove consequences. God’s grace is offered to us, but it isn’t realize if we’re unwilling to receive it properly. We have to repent.
Let’s purpose to seek a grace-filled marriage. One where we are our spouse’s closest friend and confidant. Where we can talk about anything without it exploding into a war of words. Let’s listen, pray and then speak with the words of God provides.
This is a grace-filled marriage, and what we want to embrace as long as we both shall live.