Marriage in Grace

Christian legalism says no. It says, “You’re not allowed to do that. Stay in the box.” Legalism is all about fear and control. That causes problems!

Sadly, it causes problems in a lot of marriages. I’ve been there, but I’ve learned to give up control and journey into grace. I’ve learned that if you try to control your wife or your husband, then things will get bad for your family. I’ve seen men say to their wives, “As long as you live the way I say to live, then everything’s going to be okay. But if you don’t, then I’m going to get angry, and you’re not going to like it when I’m angry.” When men start controlling, it gets really bad. You’ve got your family living at the address of misery.

What good could come of this? How does your family feel when you tell them that they can only make you happy if they live up to your standards? I can tell you exactly how they feel. Your family is miserable. It’s an impossible situation.

It’s the same in any relationship. Your friends don’t like it when you tell them that they have to do what you say. Right? Nobody likes it! And it doesn’t bring love. It doesn’t bring freedom.

God’s grace allows us to be free. God’s grace allows us to liberate each other. When I go home at the end of the day, I am not living in expectation. I don’t stake my happiness on what my wife is or isn’t doing. I don’t go home thinking, “Unless my wife is doing what I want her to do, then I’m going to be miserable.” As a result, I’m not making her worried or anxious. She isn’t wondering what to do, or how to make me happy. When I get home, I ask her what she needs. And then I say, “Okay! How can I help?”

When my wife has an opinion, I listen to it. When she wants to do something, I help her. I don’t try to stop her, and I don’t try to tell her how to do it. I don’t say, “Don’t do it that way. Do it this way, because that’s how I’d do it.” If she wants to do something a certain way, then that’s her call to make. She’s her own person, and she’s a great person! Why would I make obstacles for her?

Truly living in grace is an amazing experience. I feel so free, trusting God and living without expectation of how things have to be. And I love living in a grace-based marriage. I don’t have to demand that my wife live a certain way. I don’t have to control her demeanor or her behavior. I don’t have to control. God made everyone to be different. God gave us all different personalities. God made my wife to be just as she is, and loving on her is a good thing! Why would I try to control what God has made, or change what God has given?

When you have Christ in you, He works through you. When you live in His grace, then you live within the law fulfilled. You don’t have to focus on the dos and don’ts. You’re free.

More on grace next time. See you Monday.

Intimacy and Judgment

Jesus made the twelve disciples his intimates. He sat with them all the time. He would ask them questions. Once he asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples replied that people were saying Jesus was John the Baptist, or Elijah. Jesus said, “Okay. Who do you say I am?” And Peter said, “You are the Christ.” Then Jesus warned them to tell no one. Mark 8:27-30

You see, he built intimate relationships with the disciples. He talked to them, asked their opinions, and made them His confidants.

He went on talking to them, and the Bible tells us:

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Mark 8:31-33

That’s amazing. Jesus looked at Peter, His dear friend, and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan.” Continue reading

Marriage Full of Grace

Christian legalism focuses on the box. Christian legalism emphasizes no. It says, “You’re not allowed to do that. You’re not allowed to do this.” And that causes problems!

It causes problems in a lot of marriages. I’ve been there, but I no longer try to control my wife or my children. If you try to control your wife, then things will get bad for your family. I’ve seen men, including myself, say to their wives, “You know what, as long as you live the way I say to live, then everything’s okay. But if you don’t, then I’m going to get angry, and basically, you’re not going to like it when I’m angry.” And when men start controlling, it gets really bad. Then you’ve got your family living at the address of misery. Continue reading

Intimacy and Judgment

There are certain ways to talk to certain people because of the intimacy you have with them. Jesus made the twelve disciples his intimates. He sat with them all the time. He would ask them a question, like, “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples replied that people were saying Jesus was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or the prophets. And Jesus asked them, “Okay, and now who do you say I am?” Peter said, “You are the Christ.” And Jesus warned them to tell no one. Mark 8:27-30

He built intimate relationships with the disciples, talking to them, asking their opinions, making them His confidants.

He went on talking to them, and the Bible tells us: Continue reading

Let’s Talk Pre-Nup, Part 2

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Thanks for all the great comments on last Friday’s post. I commented, too, and the link is here if you want to read it. In criticizing pre-nups, I was not insisting that people stay in abusive marriages. I understand that the unforeseen can arise in a marriage. There might be appropriate times to separate or even divorce. For me, abuse is a different story.

I think that it’s a huge decision to make a vow before God. And if there’s a pre-nup involved, then there’s an automatic excuse to get out of it. You’re just saying you’ll give it a try and see how things go, but if it gets too hard, you can leave. And that’s not how you make a lifelong commitment. Continue reading