Grant walked in the door from a long day of work. I was so happy to see him, but somehow, between his first steps in the door and dinnertime, I began to express frustration towards him. It had something to do with a pile of laundry and a pair of dirty cowboy boots.
Within minutes, I realized my mistake. How could I have so quickly torn my husband down with my words? I know better! I know God has called me to be my husband’s encourager and helper. I left the chaos in the kitchen and went into our bedroom and closed the door. “God, please forgive me,” I prayed. Had I ruined our evening together? Was he angry with me? I gathered my courage and walked into the living room to ask Grant for his forgiveness. He was sitting in his chair reading and looked up when I came in the room. Before I could get a word out of my mouth he said, “GraceAnna, I have been thinking and been meaning to tell you that you are just the best wife! I could not imagine being married to anyone else. ” I stood there with my heart caught in my throat. I saw the genuineness in his eyes and felt the love behind his words. I didn’t know what to say. “Grant…I came in here to apologize to you. Don’t you remember how I treated you a few moments ago?” Grant looked as if he was trying to remember, “Oh don’t worry about that, you are forgiven.”
As I reflect on my marriage to Grant over the past four years, not a day has gone by where I haven’t sinned or failed in some way. Even though I am being changed more and more into the likeness of Christ, fighting my flesh is still a daily battle (Romans 7:15). I knew I would inevitably sin and hurt Grant before I got married, but what surprised me was discovering the grace of God in a new way through marriage.
The times when I sin against Grant and instead of retaliating with anger he bestows immediate forgiveness, grace overwhelms me. And this is the true essence of grace; it is not something that is earned, it is poured out on undeserving sinners who recognize their great need for it. It goes above and beyond. It’s not just “You are forgiven,” it’s “You are forgiven and now possess all the riches of Christ” (Eph. 1:18).
In chapter 3 of Romans, the depravity of the human condition is described. Every time I read it, I am completely humbled by verses like, “There is no one who does good, not even one,” and “Their throat is an open grave.” Then in verse 21, the good news breaks into the darkness, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law.” It is the righteousness of God alone that we receive by grace that justifies us (Rom. 3:24). And the grace of God is not just something we receive on the day of our salvation, it is what we cling to every single day.
When we live with someone in a marriage relationship, we see one another’s faults. While a husband and wife should help each other with areas of sin, we should strive not be faultfinders, but grace givers. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” When we are overwhelmed by the reality of the grace we have received in Christ, forgiveness becomes an overflow of a grateful heart. Instead of being professional speck finders, we are driven to our knees by the weight of our own sin. As wives, sometimes we can be so quick to see areas of fault in our husband. We can be quick to lash out with words that cannot so quickly be unspoken. But, if we were just to look in the mirror of God’s Word a little deeper, what we would find would silence our petty talk.
As I look forward to another year of marriage, I want to love more deeply, forgive more generously, and overlook small annoyances, even dirty cowboy boots.