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Picture this scenario in your mind (it likely won’t take too much effort, since we’ve all been this woman at some point or another):
The day starts out with you already running late.. and by the end of it, you still haven’t caught up.
You really meant to vacuum the floors and get the bathrooms cleaned today (again) but just didn’t quite get to it. And that errand you promised your husband you’d run will have to wait until tomorrow. The laundry is still piled up, as are the dishes.
But, all in all, you feel like you did the best you could today. You tried your hardest and did what you could. You pray that you’ll do better tomorrow but accept that you’re only human and there’s only so much you can do.
Now, your husband could respond to your efforts in one of two ways:
On one hand, he could point out everything you didn’t get done and get annoyed because now he has to take care of that errand himself. He could point out that he’s the one who goes to work and all you have to do is take care of the house and kids: “What’s so hard about that?”
Or, he could acknowledge everything you managed to complete, thank you for your hard work, and ask if there’s anything he could do to make your evening any easier. Maybe he even gives you a little foot rub for good measure.
The second reaction sounds like a dream come true, right?
With a husband like that, you’d feel like the most blessed woman in the world.
And you’d probably have renewed energy to get everything done tomorrow that you didn’t get to today.
After all, what lengths wouldn’t you go to for a man like that, a man who is the very picture of Christ-like grace?
Now imagine this: Your husband gets home after work and sits down to relax for a bit before dinner. You notice that he didn’t pick up the milk from the store like you asked him to. And you just can’t seem to stop thinking about the faucet in the kitchen that is still dripping, even though you asked him to fix it last weekend. He also didn’t bother to put his clothes in the hamper. Again.
Now it’s you with the choice in how you respond:
Do you berate your husband for everything he didn’t do? Do you point out that he’s sitting down while you’re still working? That you’re trying to get dinner made while listening to that leaky faucet that he didn’t fix? Do you make a big deal about picking up his clothes and tell him exactly what you think of his laziness?
Or, do you acknowledge the hard work he put in providing for your family today? Maybe you thank him for being such a great provider. Ask him if there’s anything you can do to make his evening easier. Maybe you even give him a backrub. Do you extend Christ-like grace to your husband?
Why is it that we expect our husbands to appreciate everything that we do but sometimes have such a hard time doing the same for them?
Because we, as sinful, fallen human beings, have a tendency to judge ourselves by our intentions and others (including our husbands) by their actions.
So you look at all you did (and didn’t do today) and realize that some days you’re just blessed to make it through. You give yourself grace. After all, you’ll do better tomorrow.
But you look at your husband and all you can see are his actions- what he actually did or didn’t do- rather than what he hoped to accomplish before the obstacles of the day interfered. You give him condemnation.
(Keep in mind, we have an enemy and it’s not our husbands: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is always looking for ways to convince you of how terrible your husband is. The morning after I wrote this post, my best friend- not knowing what I was writing about- sent me this. It’s right in line with the topic of this post. In case you’re not familiar with C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, Wormwood is a fictional demon being coached to turn us against our God by another fictional demon, Uncle Screwtape. I highly recommend checking out the book if you haven’t already!)
You may think your husband doesn’t deserve grace.
And the truth is, he doesn’t. None of us do.
The Bible is clear that none of us could ever earn nor deserve grace:
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would not be grace” (Romans 11:6).
Jesus Christ extends His grace to us on our very worst days just as easily as He does on our best days. And we are called to be like Christ.
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So, what if you started extending Christ-like grace to your hubby? What if you gave him the benefit of the doubt?
Rather than fixating on his faults, what if you focused on all of his great qualities? What if, for him, home was a sanctuary from all the difficulties and stresses of the day? A place where he could expect Christ-like grace rather than condemnation?
My guess: He’d feel like the most blessed man in the world.
And would probably be a lot faster at fixing that leaky faucet, too.
(One last note: For those of you that are hard on yourselves too, try extending this same grace to yourself. You and your husband will both benefit as a result!).