Marriage is hard. We’re sold this dream of a euphoric relationship through movies and songs. It makes us feel like if we hit a rough patch in our marriage or don’t swoon over our partner 24/7 that we’ve somehow married the wrong person or missed out on our “soul mate” (another misperception of marriage!).
Maybe we’re looking at it all wrong. And, according to the Word, we are. The Bible doesn’t paint marriage as a vehicle that will drive you to a problem-free destiny where only happiness is allowed. Quite the opposite, as it’s within marriage that we are able to endure life’s trials and tribulations. Striving to add patience and grace during challenging seasons will help deepen your faith, strengthen your marriage and draw you closer to God.
Why is Patience and Grace Important in Marriage?
A lack of patience and grace within a marriage can often result in hurt feelings, resentment and hardened hearts. It can look like “gotcha” moments, frequently being annoyed by your spouse, assuming the worst, being overly critical, and bickering. This is a limited list, but if any of these sounds familiar, your marriage may be lacking patience and grace.
It’s important to restore patience and grace within your marriage because without it, your marriage is at risk. The more resentment, anger and sadness that is added to your marriage, the less likely you’ll want to fight for it. Marriage is hard enough so it’s important to set yourself and your spouse up for success where you can. You don’t have control over life’s challenges and trials, but you do have control over how you exercise patience and grace!
Christian pastor, Rick Warren, says, “marriage isn’t to make you happy, it’s to make you holy.” This is a part of his 5 Biblical Purposes of Marriage. As a Christian, this is what we should be aiming for – letting Christ shape us into more of Him and less of us. Sometimes He uses our marriages to do so.
That challenging spouse or those difficult circumstances could be the tools used to refine your character. So, instead of getting frustrated in your current state, pray for God to show you ways that you can add patience and grace to your marriage. Ask God to help you use your marriage to strengthen your faith. As you move closer to God, then he will move you closer to you, both, individually and as a couple.
Adding More Patience to Your Marriage
The definition of patience explains exactly how torturous it really is. Here’s the definition: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Who wants to do any of that?! Delay, trouble or suffering? None of these sound like anything I want to “accept or tolerate”. But these things are all a part of real life and, even, our marriages.
So, what can delay, trouble or suffering look like in our marriages? How about that delayed pregnancy? Or a job loss that causes a semi load of stress to be dumped on top of your marriage? What about the medical issues and bills that strain you and your spouse?
Marriage and real life are packed with delay, trouble and suffering. We can’t escape it. But, through marriage, God has given you a partner to fight the world with and for.
Love is patient
A well-known scripture from 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient…”. As an individual, before marriage, we’re able to adapt much quicker to circumstances. Our “capacity” to accept or tolerate life is just that, “our capacity”. When life throws curve balls, we choose how we handle them. Marriage changes that. Now, you not only do have you to navigate through life’s obstacle course, but you also have your spouse and all of their baggage. This is where God teaches us true patience.
How to Add Patience to Your Marriage
When the storms of life hit your marriage, God can use these challenging times to strengthen your faith and character. Patience is a great example of this. In times where patience is needed, a lack of patience can cause strife in your marriage. But God gives us words of encouragement and instruction through these verses:
Proverbs 15:18 “Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.”
Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
So, when life throws its best blows at you and your spouse, remember to use those times as an opportunity to strengthen your patience. By being patient and gentle with your spouse, you are following God’s instruction, sharing Christ’s love with your spouse and moving both of you closer together and closer to God.
Adding Grace to Your Marriage
Grace is difficult to define and grasp. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to implement in our lives and marriages. Grace, however, is made clear in the bible in how we are to use it and accept it.
2 Corinthians 8:7 “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.”
Ephesians 4:7 “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’.”
What is Grace?
Grace is a form of compassion or forgiveness that we give and show towards one another when it’s not required. It’s the vulnerable moments when you mess up and someone chooses to forgive you instead of punish you. In those moments of vulnerability you can build or tear down a marriage. It’s the difference between the “I told you so” or the “you always…” and the quiet, peaceful response of, “I forgive you” and “we’ll get through this”.
How to Add Grace to Your Marriage
We all need grace. Even as grown adults, we’re far from perfect and have much to learn. We are a mixture of our past experiences, our mistakes and our successes. Sometimes this combination can make us difficult to deal with. One person’s experiences may leave them overly vulnerable and guarded in certain aspects of their life. This may cause them to act out in certain ways or not act at all in some circumstances. Those on the outside may become frustrated by this and it could even cause fights. This is where grace is needed.
When you’re married, you need grace from each other. Grace is what reassures you that, no matter what, you can get through anything together. It’s what positions you and your spouse shoulder to shoulder versus against each other. Show your spouse God’s love by showing them grace.
For more faith-based material on marriage, check out these other articles. Especially if you are going through challenging times! Marriage is difficult, but God is in your corner. He has given you the grace to restore your marriage. Continue to lean on him on each day for strength!