How to Rest in Grace While God Works in Your Marriage
- Monday, November 18, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Steve McVey's new book, When Wives Walk In Grace: Resting in Christ While God Works in Your Marriage (Harvest House, 2013).
Do you wish your husband would change unhealthy attitudes or behaviors that persist in his life? Have the two of you hit a wall of frustration while trying to solve a problem related to your marriage or parenting
Difficult issues that linger in your marriage can cause great stress in your relationship over time. It’s tempting to work hard to try to bring about the changes you hope to see, but doing so is a futile effort. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change your husband or improve your marriage on your own. The good news, though, is that your marriage can change for the better when you entrust it to God and start relating to your husband as God relates to you: with grace.
When you base your marriage on grace, you can let go of the burden of trying to change it yourself and rest in the confidence that God will work through you to bring about change. Here’s how:
Entrust your husband to God. As long as you’re trying to change your husband on your own, you’re sabotaging your goal because you’re interfering with the work God wants to do in your husband’s life. Your husband may not be able to hear God’s voice if your own voice is drowning Him out. So give up working toward your own plans for your husband and instead focus your energy on praying for God to work in your husband’s life in whatever ways are best. Trust God to do what you can’t do to help your husband. By getting out of the way, you’ll invite God to work more in your husband’s life and help your husband notice God more.
Ask God to redeem your past mistakes. Don’t waste time or energy regretting bad decisions you’ve made in the past that you can’t do anything to change now – such as marrying an unbeliever. Move forward by praying for God to redeem your mistakes, despite the consequences you’ve suffered, so that good purposes will ultimately come out of the bad situations in your marriage. If your husband isn’t a Christian, realize that you lack the power to bring him to Christ on your own. But continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to give your husband greater faith as he seeks God.
Look to God – not your husband – to validate you. Don’t base your sense of self-worth on how your husband responds to you (which is bound to be unreliable) but on how God responds to you. As a sinful human being in a fallen world, your husband may fail to express himself to you in ways that affirm your value. But God will never let you down. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see yourself as God sees you. Keep in mind that your value doesn’t depend on your husband’s opinion of you, but on your Creator’s complete love for you. Derive confidence from God’s love; when your husband sees confidence in you, your confidence will command his respect.
Shift your focus from external behavior to internal transformation. Rather than focusing on how religiously your husband behaves (such as how often he attends church, reads his Bible or prays at home, or how much time and money he gives to others in need), focus your main concern on the state of his soul. While religious activities are noble in that they accomplish good purposes, a man doesn’t have to look religious to be a godly husband. Stop pressuring your husband to fit into a certain template of what you think a good Christian husband should look like. Accept your husband just as he is and decide to love him unconditionally, as God does. When your husband experiences your unconditional love, he will stop getting as defensive as he has been about spiritual matters with you, and will be inspired to draw closer to the source of unconditional love: God.
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