Show Some GRACE To Your Imperfect Spouse
Say it isn’t so!
Usually at some point during the honeymoon phase of a marriage (typically, the first two years), both husband and wife make a startling discovery.
Their mate is NOT perfect!
Whether it’s snoring, thumbing through their phones while you’re trying to have a conversation, walking past their clothes on the floor, or leaving pee droplets on the toilet seat or bathroom floor (men - that’s for you), there is bound to be some habit that your spouse finds less than delightful. Perhaps even downright annoying.
Isn’t it amazing how those endearing qualities - the loud laugh, the tendency to be late, the talking during the movie - somehow have now become bothersome?
It’s simply the way we are built as human beings. And it’s also funny how we sometimes fail to recognize that we are less than ideal in all our ways, and they could say the very same about us. And give us a list.
The honeymoon phase is a time to be cherished and warmly remembered. I still remember our wedding day all these years later. Beautiful bride, beautiful evening surrounded by family and friends. We whisked off to our honeymoon in the Southern Caribbean. We laughed and catered to one another and dreamed our dreams. We said things to make one another feel special - and they were straight from the heart.
Today, I’m very grateful those things are still true. We still cater to one another’s wants and needs and are fierce protectors of one another. As an army of two, we are quite willing to take on the world. Together.
But at the same time, reality has taken a hit on us every now and then. That couple from the 1990s was younger, thinner, faster, and not naive but certainly not nearly aware of the storms to come. But I’m thankful that we still hold the umbrella up for one another.
There have been children to raise, bills to pay, health issues to get past by God’s grace and favor, homes to manage, disappointments to process, deadlines to make, businesses to run - so many challenges.
And then to discover that we’re not perfect after all. Wow!
What have we done in light of those “discoveries” over the years? How have we managed to get over those imperfections? Here’s a few ways:
God. We cannot thank Him enough for His abiding presence in our lives. We love Him even more than one another and that has been key to growing and going forward as one. He has, through Jesus and His Holy Spirit, brought us so far. He has taught us to spread His love to others in thought, word, and deed; to bear one another’s burdens; and to be responsive to constructive criticism from one another and others. He has matured us and showed us the light in so many areas of our life.
Respect. As Ephesians 5:33 admonishes us, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Does your spouse know that he or she can share anything with you? Are they confident that no matter what, you’ve got their heart as your primary interest on the horizontal plane of life? You know their weaknesses better than anyone on Earth, and you must be their safe place where they can “let it all out.”
Affection. A relationship needs intimacy to survive. Affection helps both spouses experience an increased sense of unity and togetherness. It bonds you uniquely and is essential to help foster a nurturing, caring relationship. Be affectionate through touch - pat, hug, kiss, cuddle, nudge…draw closer.
Celebration. Be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader. You, more than anyone, recognize his or her wiring and know when they have accomplished something worthwhile, or overcame an obstacle, or got past a hurt or habit. Celebrate your spouse in ways big and small. Laugh with them, and when they cry, cry with them as well - but remind them that they can’t stay down. God won’t allow it past a season, and He’s empowered you to be in the special place to give them a hand to lift them up.
Experience. Whether you have been married for one month, one year, or ten years, matrimony is going to teach you some things. You will learn important lessons about your spouse and about yourself. Marriage is life’s greatest classroom, and embrace the experiences that God allows for you in His very first institution.
This is not a revelation - on this side of Heaven, nobody is perfect!
Don’t be a faultfinder, so bent on finding fault in your spouse that you neglect the great qualities that brought you together. Be committed to growing together and be resolute that you two are “in it to win it” for the glory of God and as an example to those around you. Don’t be so quick to judge without having all the facts. As a rule of thumb, when you are compelled to point out their shortcomings, practice humility and remember your own. Ask what you could change about yourself. And don’t just ask - respond!
Be intentional in showing acts of love to your spouse - in his or her love language, not your own.
Did you notice what our points spelled? GRACE! Love your spouse with a love seasoned with lots of grace. Without the amazing grace of God, where would we be? (I think we all know.)
If those “imperfections” are truly disruptive or disturbing to you, have a conversation with your spouse. But to a large extent, look past your spouse’s faults just as they look past your own. Love them every day and be good to them - remember, love reciprocates!
And also remember that JUST US LIMITED, is always here to help. Reach out to us if needed.