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.