February 9, 2010
"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love
covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8 (NAS)
Cartilage is a tissue that is found in many places in our bodies, including at the end of bones where joints form. It protects our joints from wear and tear, helps them move smoothly, and absorbs shock. When the cartilage in our knee, for example, is damaged, we feel pain.
Grace in our marriages is like the protective covering of cartilage in our joints. Couples who show each other a gracious attitude cover their marriage with understanding, protect their marriage from misunderstandings and short-tempered emotions, and help one another absorb life's jolts and shocks.
For example, the other day Scott came home late to discover that I had forgotten to turn off the hose after washing the dogs. The backyard was overflowing with water—an inconvenience and a costly mistake on my part. He could have gotten mad at me, but he didn't. His gracious attitude covered my shortcoming.
Today's key verse contains the word love rather than the word grace. That's because one aspect of love is grace. It's the part of love that is generous, forgiving, encouraging, and unconditional. It's the part of love that empowers you to fill in the gaps rather than notice what's lacking in your spouse. Grace asks, "How can I help you?" instead of growing frustrated or bitter when your spouse isn't measuring up to your standard.
Bringing criticism, judgment, and self-righteousness into your marriage is all too easy. Saying "Why didn't you…" "You should have…" or "I told you so" requires no effort. But being gracious is what we need in marriage, and that's what Christ calls us to be. We're human. We're going to disappoint one another. We're not always going to meet each other's needs.
When you are fully aware of your own weaknesses and of the ways you fall short of the glory of God, you are more likely to show your partner a gracious attitude. God's Word reminds us that "love covers." How can you cover your spouse with the love of grace today?
Dear Lord, search me, O God, and know my heart (Psalm 139:23). Soften my heart and make me willing to adopt a gracious attitude toward my spouse. Where I have been unforgiving, harsh, judgmental, or bitter toward my spouse, Lord, I am sorry and ask Your forgiveness. If we need to talk about an issue, Lord, I pray our conversation will lead us both to a gracious attitude toward one another. If there's something I need to be quiet about or just to accept, give me willingness and strength. Lord, I pray that my attitude toward my spouse will reflect Your gracious love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
This devotion was adapted from What a Wife Needs from Her Husband. Order your copy today!
Visit Melanie's blog - What Matters Most for more marriage encouragement.
For more on grace, read Fighting Words
What you can do today to show a gracious attitude toward your spouse? Some ideas:
· Let it go.
· Assume the best.
· In your quiet time, think about the different ways God has covered you with grace rather than burdened you with judgment.
· Hang around friends with gracious attitudes. Let their attitudes rub off on you.
· Be careful of keeping company with people who are constantly bashing and bad-mouthing their spouses. Their bad attitudes are likely to affect yours.
· Don't say, "I told you so."
What triggers in you a harsh or judgmental reaction toward your spouse rather than a gracious reaction?
How has Christ shown you grace, and how can His grace spill over in your marriage?
Ephesians 4:2, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (NIV)
1 Peter 3:7, "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way…" (NAS)
© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 09 February 2010.