My darling wife Lucy and I are hardly super-spiritual people. We still have our share of spats. Yet if I am asked for the secret of our marriage (18 years this coming April!), I would say “megadoses of grace.”
Why do many relationships break down? One major reason is unresolved hurts. The husband utters a cutting remark to the wife. The wife shoots a barbed comment at the husband. The result is internal friction that wears down the relationship. Left unaddressed, the hurt festers and poisons the relationship. In worst cases, the relationship disintegrates into a mess of bitterness and loathing.
A relationship is like a car engine. It needs lubrication. I had a friend who used to be a prosperous businessman. His car was a fancy Volvo. Then he fell into hard times. He still drove the Volvo to get around, but, being financially tight, he skimped on the oil changes. The time came that the engine oil got so dirty that it damaged the pistons. His car, now useless, sits rusting in his garage.
Grace is the lubricant of relationships. Great grace makes for great relationships. It works like this: "You hurt me, but I choose not to hurt you back. Rather, I choose to give you a blessing you do not deserve." This doesn’t mean that we condone the wrong or evade the issue. It doesn’t excuse domestic violence. But one can still exercise grace which seeks the redemption of the offender.
Yet the chronic dilemma persists. “How can I ever forgive her? What she did was so hurtful!” Where is the justice, you may ask? Well, it's all taken cared of at the Cross. Jesus paid for that sin, that hurt. And yes, He paid for our sins, too, which would have cast us into a wretched eternity.
As we realize the enormous grace which God has shown us, we find it easier to extend grace to the wrongdoer. Yes, especially in marriage. The popular song “love will keep us together” needs some tweaking. The better adage would be “Grace will keep us together.” Megadoses of it!
Does your relationship need an oil change? You will know it when you feel something grinding between the two of you. By all means, talk it over. But weld the power of grace.
Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash
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