The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Embrace Your Marriage - The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

So strange.

So strange that it would be one of the first things they told us.

Stranger still, perhaps, that this is what continues to stand out in my mind. Out of all the things that the doctors at the hospital shared with us, that this statement would be the most memorable.

“Most parents who give birth to this kind of child end up in divorce. We just thought we should prepare you for that.”

Yeah, thanks.

It was like hearing two pieces of devastating news.

As if one wasn’t enough.

The first news was that our sweet baby had suffered a massive stroke before she was even born. She would likely never walk, talk, or know us as her parents – if she lived at all.

The second was that our marriage would not likely endure the tragedy of it all.

More news than a couple should have to take in at one time, wouldn’t you say?

Basically, “This is the beginning of the end.”

I glanced over at my husband with desperate grief and fear in my eyes.

But he wasn’t having any of it.

No way, Babe. We’re not going to take the “likely” path, you and me.

We serve the God who continually surprises us with the unlikely. The God of miracles. The Restorer. The Redeemer.

And He is more than able to hold us together.

So how did we get through the years that followed? Those pressure-filled, emotionally, physically, and financially draining years?

The grace of God.

Grace from Him and grace for each other.

And you can cling to that same grace as well—in both the good times and hard times.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Heb. 4:16

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Grace that offers compassion. When the other person is weak. Sometimes I was too tired to see straight. Or even talk sweet.  He overlooked that snap because he knew I wasn’t “myself” from fatigue and worry.  And I tried to do the same for him.

Grace that doesn’t keep a grudge. He said things that hurt my feelings or made me feel like he didn’t really understand. He let me down and didn’t always hold up. And it was the same here. But we knew we needed to let it go and not let bitterness settle in.

Grace that goes the extra mile. At times each of us had to give more than we had—and certainly more than “our fair share”. We couldn’t keep records or simply take turns. We had to learn to give . . . and then give some more.

Grace that accepts the gift of others.  Grace also comes in the form of support from friends and family. We can’t do this by ourselves, but recognize that we are needy. We are part of the body of Christ for a reason and were never meant to walk alone (More here: On Why It Is So Critical To Connect With Friends).

Grace that doesn’t give up.  No matter how dark some days were – and especially the nights – we refused to give up. We believed God had us in His hands, even when the situation seemed impossible. You are in those same loving Hands.

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together - Embrace Your Marriage

So, yes, our marriage held together. By God’s grace, we will be celebrating twenty-two years this Friday!

Grace to Hold Your Marriage TogetherAnd if you’re wondering what happened to that dear little girl of ours?

She is a miracle. While it’s true she never did learn to walk, she can definitely talk…and talk. She calls me mommy and says how much she loves me.

She prays for us and for this blog. Every day.

And so in a very real sense, she prays for you too. All because of unlikely grace. Powerful grace. 

The same grace that  is available to you too.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ~ Eph. 2:4-7

CHALLENGE: Before you can extend grace to others, the best place to start is with the preparation of a pure and tender heart. Pray, asking God for wisdom and guidance in this area. Think of how God’s grace has impacted your life, and acknowledge the areas where you have been forgiven.

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over see each one of them!

And here’s what you have to look forward to . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

So mark your calendar and join us each week as we all share on these very important topics in marriage. And be sure and invite any friends who might be blessed by this event as well.

Looking forward to seeing you on Mondays!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

Embrace Your Marriage: A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Have you been hoping to attend a marriage retreat?

But maybe you just haven’t been able to get away.

Or maybe you’ve both been way too busy.

Or perhaps you simply haven’t been able to afford it.

Well, how you would you like to come to our Virtual Marriage Retreat?

You don’t even have to leave the house (unless you want to) and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Yes, I’m totally serious. Lovely idea, isn’t it? I thought so too.

That’s why I’m so excited to share with you this new Marriage Series starting the 1st of September!

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, each of the following blogs will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. You can meet my wonderful blogger friends over at the following sites . . . .

And here’s what you have to look forward to!

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

So mark your calendar and join us each week as we all share on these very important topics in marriage. And be sure and invite any friends who might be blessed by this event as well.

Looking forward to seeing you on Monday!

*If you have topics or questions that you would like covered in this series, would you let me know? Either in a comment below, or on my contact page? I’ll do my best to cover it if I can!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

You Married a Sinner Not an Angel {& 3 Ways to Keep the Joy and Unity}

You Married A Sinner Not An Angel

A wedding is one of the most joyful and beautiful celebrations on earth.

The flowers and decorations, beautiful dresses and sparkling jewelry, radiant brides and grinning grooms all paint a wonderful picture. The traditions and symbols passed down from generation to generation speak words of wisdom and declare covenants.

Flowers signify joy within marriage and the rings testify to the unending love and devotion God has for his bride, as well as the love and devotion a couple should have for each other until death breaks the circle. There are festivities and music, food and dancing. In some cultures the wedding celebrations can go on for days.

But at some point the music fades, the flowers dry up, and only a memory of that intense joyful day remains.

And there is something else. Something that is with the bride and groom throughout the planning, the ceremony, and the honeymoon. Something that stays with them throughout their marriage.

You can’t see it as they walk down the aisle in all their splendor, but it is there–ugly and heavy though invisible for a time. As the honeymoon season ends and the wedding gifts are unpacked and put away, the baggage of our sin begins to be unpacked. Out comes pride and rudeness, unkind tone of voices, laziness and disrespect. Selfishness in various forms is unpacked and set up around the home.

Add to these vices the stresses of everyday life like bills, personal preferences, disagreements, small annoyances, fatigue and the marriage relationship can become strained.

What every married couple must confront is the reality that they did not marry an angel, but a sinner. The prince is part frog, and the princess is still cursed.

For the unprepared who have walked into marriage with romantic notions of a storybook life walk right into the wall of sin. And even those who are prepared for the realities of corruption in our most precious relationships it can be difficult and painful.

There are three things I have learned over the past 17 years of marriage that have helped my husband and I maintain joy and unity over the years–all of which are marked by his and my sin.

3 Ways to Keep the Joy and Unity

Be a Confessor

Know your sin. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and struggles. Be willing to admit when you mess up, when you fail, when you sin and repent. Repent before God, but repent before your spouse as well. Make apologies when needed without excuses or explanations.

Be a Forgiver

In marriage we will be sinned against. We have all experienced this and it is our job to be forgivers. Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 x7 times (Matt. 18:22 ), meaning infinitely. Why? because we have been forgiven. We have sinned against Christ more than any person will ever sin against us and he has forgiven each sin. We continue to sin against Christ and he continues to extend mercy, grace and forgiveness. Marriage is the perfect vehicle through which we can imitate God and live out the forgiveness we have been given by extending such grace to each other.

Be an Encourager

One of the blessings of being married is that you are not alone. Your partner is there to walk with you through all of life, and they need you and your words of grace as much as you need theirs. As a Christian this is not our real home, we are passing through and the journey is hard. We must learn to speak words of kindness and encouragement to our spouses because these words blossom into motivation and earnestness as we fight sin together in order to bring honor to our Savior.

Marriage is one of the most beautiful relationships on earth, but it is also one of the hardest.

Thankfully God is with us and for us, he will give us the strength and grace we need to handle hard days. The spirit will convict us of sins that we need to weed out and eradicate, and Christ has extended forgiveness to his children so we do not need to wallow in guit and sin, but can find joy and excitement to live for his glory together.

Jen Thorn,  JenThorn.com

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetJen grew up in Germany and spent a few years as a missionary kid in Africa. She ended up at Moody Bible Instituted where she met her husband. They have been married 17 years and have 4 children. She loves studying and talking about theology and has a passion to help women take their walk with God to a deeper level. She is one of the writers at goodmorninggirls.org, timewarpewife.com, christianity.com and jenthorn.com. You can find Jen on Twitter @Jenlthorn, on Facebook, and on Instagram.
100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyOur books are now available:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

7 Ways to Bring Respect Back into Your Marriage

7 Ways to Bring Respect Back into Your Marriage

As wives, we desire our husband to love and cherish us.

We want to hear sweet nothings whispered in our ears and have love notes tucked under our pillows with pledges of love from our husbands. We like to feel our husband’s arms around us reassuring us of his affection and attention.

But, our husbands have desires too. Three of their strongest desires (in my opinion) would be respect, intimacy and food.

Most of us wives understand that our husband needs food and intimacy. It’s kind of common knowledge, but respect?

Yes, respect is a major need that he desires to be fulfilled by you, his wife. You are the one that sees him when he excels and when he fails. You are the one that he has vowed to spend a lifetime with. Yes, he needs respect from you.

But how?

How can we as wives make an honest and deliberate effort to respect our husbands — every single day?

It doesn’t come that easy when we know his weaknesses. But we have to, we need to.

Why?

Because most of us chose to marry our husbands. Most of us were not the recipients of an arranged marriage. No, we fell madly in love with one certain man and pledged our life to him. In fact, many of us quoted wedding vows with the words “honor and respect” in them — and we were talking about our husbands!

So if he needs it, and we promised to give it, then we need reminders on how to respect him every single day.

Here are some relevant, everyday tips that you can start using today to bring respect back into your marriage. A wife that respects her man is a wife that is dearly loved. It’s true! It’s a tested and proven cause and effect. Just try it for yourself!

7 Ways to Respect Your Husband

1.    Don’t nag. Wow, this is a tough one sometimes. Life gets busy and he forgets to fix the sink or cut the grass. Don’t muse on these things. Just be patient and wait. Ask that God to remind your husband of those things so you don’t feel tempted to repeat requests — over, and over and over again.

Another option? Consider taking the time to figure out how to get the job done yourself, so he can focus on other things. I know you are probably busy too, but if you can squeeze some of his duties into your schedule, you will only reap happy marriage benefits from your sacrifice of love!

2.    Just listen. As a busy mom of six, I multi-task. Do you do that too? Sometimes my multi-tasking sneaks its way into my conversations with my husband. As he’s relaying current events to me, I may be sweeping or braiding my daughter’s hair. But, one small gesture that I can do everyday to show my husband respect is to simply stop and listen. I can put down my broom for a few seconds to give him my undivided attention.

When I focus on him and his words, my body language is saying, “You’re important to me and I want to hear what you have to say.” Try it today and see an instant positive response form your hubby!

3.    Don’t correct. This is definitely a pet peeve of mine. Countless times my husband and I have been engaged in a conversation with another couple and the wife continually interrupts. “No, honey. There were three men in the store.” “No, Sweetie, you picked up the green one.” She has to correct him — or else the story would never be the same.

Don’t be that wife. I have yet to meet a husband that enjoys his wife interrupting his conversations or correct him — especially in public. It belittles him and only adds tension to your marriage.

4.    Give thanks. Did he take the family out to dinner? Did he lead the family in devotions? Did he change the light bulb? From the simplest to the most difficult tasks and gestures, thank him. Verbalizing your gratitude shows your husband that you truly respect the work he does — no matter how small or big.

5.    Praise him. Do you love your husband’s eyes? Tell him. Does he have an impressive baritone voice? Let him know you’re his biggest fan. Is a a loving father to your children? Tell him so. Take every opportunity to praise your husband. He’ll love it, and focusing on your husband’s talents and abilities will cause your heart to respect him more.

6.    Give him his own space. Men like to have their own little cubby away from everyone else. This “man cave” is a place he can go to be alone and just think. Especially if he’s a dad, there will be times when he needs to get away. Let him have that space and furnish it as he desires.

7.    Welcome his advances. Nothing makes a man feel disrespected more than a wife that pushes away his physical advances. It makes him feel undesirable. Lean in to that kiss, squeeze extra tight on that hug and focus on your special physical relationship that only you two share. Enjoying the physical part of the marriage is one of the most powerful ways to let your husband know he has your respect.

Respecting our husbands doesn’t always come easy. It’s something that God had to give us clear instructions to do. But if we do strive to respect our husbands, then we will experience a happy, close-knit marriage that few people get to experience.

Respect your husband now and cultivate a strong marriage that provides a strong foundation for a happy home.

DO YOU DESIRE TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME?

Many times we think happy homes only exist in fairy tales. Happily ever after can become your family’s story! In my new ebook 25 Days to a Happier Home I take you through 100 plus pages of 25 daily challenges that inspire you to create a happier home for your family. Parenting, marriage, home-making and financial issues are all addressed in this new book. Honest wife-to-wife and mom-to-mom advice helps encourage you to complete each challenge and continue molding your home into one of the most pleasant places on earth!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

25 Days to a Happier Home by Alison Wood25 Days to a Happier Home is available in an easy-to-read format that is available for most reading devices. Join the happier home challenges today — your family is worth it!

You can get a copy of the book HERE:

25 Days to a Happier Home

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Alison Wood is a mom of six kiddos, wife to one amazing husband, church-planting missionary in Southeast Asia and a parenting writer for online magazines. She encourages wives and moms at Pint-sized Treasures Follow her there!