I need to ask you a question.
How would you describe your husband?
If I asked you to tell me the first five things that come to your mind when I ask you that question…what would they be? Be completely honest here, ladies!
The way you answer this question…the first five things that come to your mind when you are asked to describe your husband can tell you a lot.
The first five things that come into your mind when you describe him, tell where your focus is. Are you focusing on his imperfections or are you looking at him with lens of grace?
Why am I asking this tonight?
Tonight, I was at a church function with my boys and while they were in their group meetings I was sitting on the sidelines waiting for them. I overheard someone describe his wife in this way… “When I married her I knew I was marrying Mrs. Right, I just didn’t know I was marrying Mrs. ALWAYS right.”
Wow. This man was hurting and went on to describe the conversation they had before he left for the meeting and as he described was a common one.
This statement and the conversation that followed pierced my heart and brought tears to my eyes. While I will address how we talk about our spouse with others in another article, tonight I want to focus on WHAT he said.
I am a widow, which most of you know.
My husband was killed in a tragic car accident one year and two months ago.
I realize that marriage is work. I realize that life isn’t always a bed of roses. We had our challenges. But I can not tell you how glad, blessed, and over the top thankful I am that we learned a very important, but difficult, lesson. We were on the same team. We learned to look at each other and our relationship through the lens of grace.
Did we agree on everything? No.
Did I respect him and he respect me. Yes! Did I always do a great job of showing him respect when I disagreed with him? Sadly, not in the beginning of our marriage. It took time and he was the one who taught me how…by his example. You see, Will was really amazing about treating me with respect even when we disagreed. I tended to struggle with controlling my emotions sometimes and I allowed things to fly out of my mouth without thinking first.
Will, my late-husband, struggled with bi-polar disorder but amazingly he never spoke to me disrespectfully…and that is not me looking at things with rose-colored glasses. I asked him about it one day. How was he able to keep control of his tongue when he felt passionately about something in a discussion or disagreement with me.
He told me that he asked himself a very important question…what was more important to him…being right or our relationship? What did he value more? And he told me that since he there was no question he valued our relationship and me more than convincing me he was right, he knew what he had to do. He asked God to help him hold his tongue and look at me and listen to me through a lens of grace.
You see I struggled with needing to be right. I tend to struggle with thinking about things in a concrete way and I had allowed that to seep into the way I spoke to my husband. I felt terrible about it. And I repented and asked for his forgiveness and we talked about ways he could help me to catch myself when I started “doing it again”. I struggle with ADHD and sometimes the filter in my brain isn’t working very well and I need gentle reminders.
My husband helped me to see that I wasn’t viewing our conversations through a lens of grace…and he did it without nagging me or getting angry at me. He told me that he knew I loved and respected him and it was painful for him when I said things in a way that didn’t make him feel respected…but he had prayed about it and God helped him to see that this was an area that He was working on in me and that helped him to accept my flaw of letting my emotions get the best of me with grace. The same grace that God gave him in so many areas. (tears)
It was conversations like this that brought me to my knees before God and helped me to become a lot more conscious of how I spoke to and treated him. That happened a year before he went home to heaven, and I am so, so very glad it did!
I started asking God to help me look at and treat my husband with the same beautiful grace that he looked at me and treated me.
So I am asking you…do you value being right more than you value your relationship with your husband?
I am here to tell you that life can throw you a curve ball and he could be gone tomorrow.
It happened to me.
My heart still hurts. I still miss him more than I can ever say.
Our relationship wasn’t perfect but it was filled with grace and forgiveness from two imperfect people.
I know that sometimes it is very hard to bite our tongues when we are tired and have used up all of our patience in our job or with our children.
Please don’t take this as a statement that I think you should allow yourself to be abused by your husband. I know what it is to be in an abusive marriage that caused so much pain and trauma in my life and my son, Josh’s life that we are still working through the ways that life imprinted our minds and hearts today. Michael was only four months old when we escaped from my ex-husband…my boys’ biological father.
So I am not saying that it is good to let someone abuse you…but we all need to remember that there is a big difference between being abused and having differences or being challenged.
My marriage with Will was a gift from God. Both of us had been through very painful divorces before we met each other. We talked openly about our experiences and prayed for each other as we worked through our emotional baggage from the past. But we both learned a lot from those experiences too.
We learned that we needed to not just appreciate our spouse…we needed to show them that we appreciated them.
We learned how important it is to have God in the center of our marriage…and treat each other with the same grace God gives us.
So I am going to offer you a challenge this week.
I want you to work on focusing on your husband and your marriage with a “grace lens”.
Start fresh right now. Use your voice to build up your relationship with your husband instead of tearing it down.
I learned a lot from my Will and one of the major things I learned had a permanent effect on our relationship. He taught me how to focus on looking at our marriage with grace. And I hope you are blessed as I pass that lesson on to you…
Each day this week, I want you to write down five qualities or things about your husband that you love or mean a lot to you.
And each day you need to come up with different things. If you are struggling in your marriage this may not be easy for you to do at first. It may take time. Maybe you can only see or think of one thing at first…but one thing is a start! Since you know you need to find things to put on your list at the end of each day I want you to really look at him through a lens of grace throughout that day before you sit down and make your list for the day.
Is it the way he provides for you?
His dedication to his job?
The way he helps your kids with their homework?
The way he makes coffee in the morning?
Whatever it may be…put it on the list. No matter how small it may seem…put it on the list.
Then I want you to take a moment and tell him how much you appreciate or respect one of the qualities or things he does that you put on your list. And then…I am I very serious about this one…I want you to kiss him like you mean it!
It can take time to change old habits…but it is so very worth it! I guarantee it!
The fact that God transformed that part of me that needed to be right all of the time in our marriage and instead focus on using the grace lens in our relationship changed me for the better. I was able to focus on how I could be blessing to him and really started noticing, even more, the many ways he was a blessing to me and our family.
So will you take the challenge before something happens to him and you no longer have the opportunity?
Will you allow God to transform your heart and help you see your marriage and your husband with the lens of grace?
I hope you will accept the challenge…and I will be praying for each of you who do.
If you decide to accept the challenge will you leave me a comment here to let me know? I want to be sure I put you on my daily prayer list. God is bigger than anything we face and He is ready to do a transforming work in this area of your marriage if you need Him to…
And please trust me when I say…don’t wait until your husband is gone before you start seeing him through the lens of grace…show him how much you value your relationship while he is still with you. Show him with your attitude and words that you value your relationship more than being right. The fact that we learned to do that with each other is something I will treasure forever.
Next week we will start looking at how we talk ABOUT our husbands…
God bless you!
For His Glory,
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