This post is honest and raw, and a picture of just a piece of marriage.
My husband is, in my honest opinion, the very best there is. He is loyal, kind, giving, he cleans without me asking for help, he kisses my forehead, he is Prince Charming to our little girl, he is constantly putting himself last and seeking to give me happiness.
He completely adores me and our children.
But every marriage comes with hurts, disappointments, and mistakes. Even the tiny ones can cut deeper than expected and truly leave an ache.
Let there be no mistaking my husband for anything other than the godly man that he is while reading this post about the realness of being married to a human being and being met with disappointments.
He had hurt me, again.
The fairy tale marriage just wasn’t happening, and even though I had heard it was all a myth, I must have had hidden expectations that it could be real, because the ache in my chest was nearly unbearable.
I played the scene over in my head one more time- the truth, the tears, the anger to hide them from him, the yelling, and aching, the running from the conversation.
Locked in our bedroom where we get ready for church together each Sunday, cuddle in the sweetness of sleep, talk about having more babies, and act out a love so deep and pure it has made me cry, I am angry and bitter.
How could I go from all that to this in the very same room?
I know I have allowed my flesh to react in this situation, and as the anger begins to cool, I know I have to face my actions as well as his tonight.
The thought of that makes me sick, and so I pray.
Why is it that I pray after I’ve already taken the reigns and ruined a night that could have been an opportunity for growth, healing, and grace?
I always pray just a little too late, and I hate that about myself. Regardless of my human timing, I come to the Lord and ask Him to just speak to me, because I don’t know what to say.
As the Holy Spirit enters the room, I am drawn to confession- my thoughts, my words, my actions. I caused him hurt because that’s what he gave me. God gently places the hard question in my thoughts,
If you were given everything you gave, what would you receive?
This makes me uncomfortable, and I squirm, nearly getting up to just get this over with and talk to Brian before I’m ready.
I quiet myself again and listen.
You came to me last week and asked for help in being Christ to him.
I imagine what Jesus’ reaction would have looked like in my situation, and flinch when I think about mine one more time.
Flesh takes over so suddenly.
It’s the very first reaction and requires no thought to come into play.
Faith and being Jesus to somebody (especially your husband) requires not only thought, but deciding to do so before he offends you.
It requires walking with Jesus every step of each day and keeping grace at the forefront of your heart and mind.
To be your first action, grace must be ahead of your flesh.
Sitting on our marriage bed, I think about what I did in my reaction to the hurt, and I begin to pray against those fleshly thoughts and words and replacing them with the truth of God’s Word and His love for my husband.
You will pay for this mistake.
I am choosing to work through forgiveness for the sake of God’s will and this marriage.
I am so angry at you, I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you.
I am angry right now, but I promised to work on this relationship, so I’m going to calm down and take my heart to God.
Being Jesus is unnatural to us, but that’s the point. If it were easy, we would have no need for a Savior, and every marriage would bring glory to God. To stand out, to bring glory, to be different, to not be the half of marriages that end in divorce or the other percentage that are married but unhappy, takes work.
It takes a lot of sweat, dedication, keeping promises when he doesn’t, focusing on Jesus and what He would have you do rather than on what your husband deserves.
So how do I become a gracious wife?
The task of becoming a gracious wife is difficult and can only truly be accomplished by the Holy Spirit. However, there are certain action steps we can take to become more gracious with our husbands.
Be Gracious, Even in your Fighting
As a gracious wife, you need to understand that while there might be times when you feel like lashing out, it will only hurt your relationship in the long term. At some point in every marriage, there will be arguments that turn ugly, and that’s very normal. It’s how you deal with it that makes all of the difference.
Give Each Other Space
You will need to give your spouse some space after the argument. They need time to cool off. Just let him be, without trying to get his attention or talk things through right away. It won’t help anything if you try to bring up a new round of insults or arguments right away.
Instead, just take this opportunity that is in front of you right now for some self-reflection and prayer time for yourself . Sometimes we hurt others because we have deeper issues going on within ourselves, so giving yourself some alone time will help too!
In other words, this is a gift to yourself!
After you take a little time to process your thoughts, it’s important that you also begin to pray for your husband .
While we should never pray for bad things to happen, it’s okay to pray about how God would have us handle this situation and move forward from here.
Remind yourself of all of the good qualities in your husband and why you married him. Chances are there was more than one reason when you got engaged. Maybe he was brave or funny or smart or hard-working. Whatever reasons you had before, remember them now!
You can’t be gracious by yourself–you need help!
You need the Holy Spirit to help transform your heart. And you need to be gracious because that is what God wants from a wife. He empowers you to do this. I ask God in prayer, “Lord, I am hurting right now. Will you please transform my heart and help me DESIRE to be gracious?”
(Because let’s be real, sometimes we don’t want to be gracious after a fight).
Thankfully, this is a prayer I believe God ALWAYS desires to answer.
Be careful with what you say.
It’s important to remember that although we may say something in the heat of the moment, they often times have an incredibly long shelf life (as I’ve learned with my kids!).
Be careful what you say! Your words are powerful. You can choose them deliberately and then act accordingly or choose them carelessly and regret later when you’ve said something without thinking.
If you make it a habit to keep your cool during conflicts by choosing your words with grace, you will definitely notice a difference in the way your husband responds. You’ll have more positive, gracious interactions with him over time and it will become a pattern that you both get used to.
This doesn’t mean that “things will always go smoothly,” but it does mean you’ll be able to gracefully work through the hard times as well as any success or excitement together.
Don’t throw past wrongs in his face.
This way, you can actually confront him in each situation as they arise and are never carrying something over from the past.
Instead of sitting on the couch and thinking about all of the things he does wrong, it’s better to confront him and move on.
The goal is to not carry an attitude of resentment or anger toward your spouse when it first comes up.
It’s a lot easier if we just let it go in the moment because we’re really missing out on what could be if we don’t work through those feelings right then and there.
This takes practice can be so transformative for your marriage.
Respect Your Husband
“I’m not trying to make you angry or hurt your feelings.” For the gracious wife, statements like this should be the rule, not the exception.
More than just avoiding making her husband feel bad when he is already upset, a gracious wife will strive to respect him in all areas of their marriage and family life.
The gracious wife resists the temptation to “explain away” comments she doesn’t agree with by saying something like: “You’re wrong because ____________.”
She recognizes that God gave her this husband for a reason and that it is her part of her job to help him become the godly man God intends for him to become.
She doesn’t try to “win” arguments, but instead seeks God’s wisdom on how to lovingly speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Trust God’s Dreams for Your Marriage
It is easy to have expectations that your marriage will always look like something off of Pinterest. If we subscribe to that idea of marriage, then we are going to be disappointed.
Our husbands aren’t flawless. We women aren’t perfect.
Being wives are hard.
Old habits we bring into marriage are are hard.
The past is hard to shake.
But I believe that God has a dream for your marriage. Even more, I believe that he has blessed your marriage already (even if you don’t feel like it).
We have to be willing to let go of control of our expectations and be willing to accept God’s dream for our marriage. That dream may look different.
Maybe it’s less than children than you were expecting. Maybe it’s job loss. Maybe it’s moving a bunch of times.
Maybe it’s not look like that Pinterest family.
Maybe you aren’t the flawless mom with dinner on the table every day.
But part of being a gracious wife is praying for your spouse and trusting that God’s plan for your family, for your marriage , is greater than any set of expectations you have laid out for yourself.
Don’t Make Everything About You
The gracious wife puts her husband and marriage first. Asking “How can I make my husband feel loved?” instead of “How do I get him to love me more?” will lead you to a direction of graciousness that benefits your entire relationship and cultivates the friendship between you two.
Give him no reason to doubt your love for him.
Show it through touch, affectionate words, honoring his decisions in the day-to-day, and sex (if appropriate). He’s not going to always feel like he’s getting a lot of affirmation, so you have to be gracious enough to give it when he needs it.
Ask yourself if you are in the wrong sometimes.
Because we all tend to assume that our way is right and the other person’s is wrong, I find this step most helpful in my own gracious living.
Am I being gracious toward my husband if I’m having difficulty seeing his side? Or do I always believe that my way or point of view is correct?
By asking these questions, we can cultivate graciousness and humility as well as honor our husband’s perspective.
When we are hurting, it is hard to be a gracious wife. The good news is that when you learn how to deal with your hurt feelings and frustrations in the right way, you can grow closer to your husband by being more understanding of his struggles.
You don’t have to feel like something has gone wrong just because it’s been a tough night (or week).
Being a gracious wife starts with us trusting that even these hard moments can be used for God’s glory!
I think the biggest takeaway is this:
You reap what you sow. Sow forgiveness, grace, and dedication and you will reap it in return. You have God’s word.
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