Ahhh, blissful matrimony.
Some could argue those two preceding words, “blissful matrimony” are an oxymoron. Anybody???
Now that hubster and I have celebrated our 30th anniversary, we’ve come to acquire certain phrases for certain scenarios. They make for quite an artillery.
Should I accidentally snap at John rather than ooze words of love and comfort, John will many times say, “Where’d you park your broom, dear?” Insinuating my resemblance of a big, bad, scary witch.
(Apropos’ given it’s Halloween week. Forget the ghouls, just hand over the candy, preferably of the chocolate persuasion.)
Should John accidentally snap at me rather than ooze words of love and comfort, I will many times say, “Stop! Just a minute while I pick my head up off the floor, SINCE YOU BIT IT OFF!” Insinuating he may have just bitten my head off with some kind of terrifying tone of voice.
I know, it’s hard to believe publishers aren’t bustin’ our door down to grab some more wisdom on our blissful matrimony. Thanks be to God, literally, we’ve learned how to handle conflict. Nine times out of ten, grace is the answer.
Since people are already Christmas shopping (Kinda weird seeing Christmas décor along with Halloween candy), I’d like to suggest you add this book to your shopping list:
Grace Filled Marriage: The Missing Piece, the Place to Start by Dr. Tim Kimmel with Darcy Kimmel. As a friend said, “This book is for all married couples: newlyweds and nearly deads!” Dear friends, we all fall in there somewhere!
Dr. Tim Kimmel tells us his book explores “the daily reality of living out a commitment to treating our spouse the way God treats us—with grace.” Tim and his wife Darcy share their stories along the way, no holes barred. Some are hysterical funny while others are sadly poignant, lessons of which benefit us readers.
He begins to open our eyes with several other married couple’s situations. He shows us that “Marriages without grace have a way of feeling tired and old much faster than we would ever have thought going in.”
Tim gives us several definitions of grace:
“The equilibrium we apply to all the conditions and challenges that allow our marital love to improve with age.
The plus sign to counter all of the negatives inherent in a partnership.
The vintage agent to a covenant love that otherwise becomes flat.
The dealmaker in a ‘till death do us part’ commitment.
Grace is about Jesus: He’s the God of grace,
The wellspring of grace,
The delivery system,
The follow-thru’ program of grace.”
One experience opened Tim’s eyes after he learned to braid his daughter’s hair. (This story is one not to miss.) He realized that once you’ve braided hair, the braid appears to only have two strands. But if you were doing the braiding, you know you used three.
He adds, “A grace-filled marriage is more about weaving together three people than it is joining together a man and a woman.” In Mark 10:8, Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5, the Bible tells us that two shall become one. Tim explains, “but God also wants those two to be one with him. In grace-filled marriages, three lives weave together to look like two, presenting themselves as one complete and beautiful braid.”
My guess is you’ve been to a wedding or two where the minister reads the above verse, Ecclesiastes 4:12. It tells us the husband, wife, and God work in tandem together, strengthening their marriage as they go.
Grace “needs to be the active ingredient of our marriage covenant.” Tim continues by addressing the plethora of problems we married couples create. He talks about certain lenses in which we view our marriage.
For example, with the “Love If Lens”, we make things in our marriage conditional. (“I’ll love you if….”) With the “Me Lens”, it’s the ole’ my-way-or-the-highway scenario. The worst, Tim writes, is viewing your marriage with the “Pious Lens”…holier-than-thou comes to mind. He calls this when you think you have a “biblical black belt in superiority.” Oh dear, I’ve soooo been there….
View your marriage with the Grace Lens, and things will quickly clear up. Tim says, “This fresh, freeing, grace-filled perspective brings new energy, respect, contentment and passion to a relationship.” This makes me think of having the wind at your back, zipping your sailboat along as you exhale and drink in His peace.
This is all well and good information, if you fully grasp grace. Tim adds, “We must grasp the part of how the grace that saved us can also redefine us and transform how we treat others, especially in our marriage. We must accept Christ’s work as it truly is.”
“CHOOSE to embrace this grace as the defining factor of your relationship with your spouse.”
Sidebar: If you are having trouble grasping grace, the best book out right now on grace is by my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs, Embrace Grace. Even tho’ she’s written thirty-plus books, this is still my all-time favorite.
Here’s a sampling of the outstanding, life-giving, grace-filled list of Scriptures Tim gives us in his chapter on “A Grace-Filled Perspective” :
Jesus is “empathetic and understanding when all we can muster is fear and doubt. (Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 4:15-16)
Jesus sees us for what we can be instead of judging us for what we are. (Luke 15:21-22; John 8:10-11)
Jesus imputes value in us long after we feel we don’t have any left. (Romans 5:8)
Jesus unleashes his mercy and hope in order to rescue us when we’re at our worst. (Ephesians 2:4-7; Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus rescues us from that sin and shame, even at the expense of his own life.” (Romans 8:31-33)
Killer question for us all (until we hit part 2 next week!!!) :
“Why are we so quick to deny grace to our spouse for things Jesus couldn’t wait to extend grace to us for?”
Let’s pray about that this week.
‘Til next time!