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This week's Man Minute . . .
Last week I wrote about the need for every man to stay faithful to his vow to love his wife until death parts the marriage. I promised to give you some insights into my marriage that have, over the years, kept Michelle and I climbing toward our future. After thinking about that for a bit, I realized that there is no possible way to share what we've learned about God, our selves, or one another, inside of the sixty second window that the Man Minute promises!
So ... I'll choose one area, one place, that is forever at the top of our list. I'll write on many more in the Minutes to come, yet for now, I'd be quick to say that the present reality of "grace" has been the Duck Tape bonding our hearts in this ever growing journey.
I think most every believer is quick to grasp the idea of God's grace to us as individuals. While we may not ever fully understand it, we at least understand that there is no possible reason for God to love us other than the fact that He just wants to - so we get the idea of grace from above.
Grace to one another ... easy to talk about, but very hard to live out.
I am quite sure that most every believer struggles to let grace marinate our relationships. So very often we say we have grace, yet in reality what we really mean is that life works best (for me) if you will like what I like, think the way I think, see pretty much everything from my perspective, and basically operate in this world in ways that make sense to ... me!
Have you ever noticed that you are the only one in your world who is truly normal? I'm serious.
My definition of "normal" is what I think normal should be, and every person who deviates from my definition of normal is, well, just off. Not right. Weird.
Do you realize how toxic this can be in any relationship, especially in a marriage? When you cannot let a person be who God created them to be, frustration and failure are soon to be the winners in any relationship.
It was about year three in our marriage when Michelle and I finally stopped trying to change one another. Michelle believes the glory of God is found in structure and predictability. I believe the glory of God is found in adventure and absolute non-predictability. The truth is, the glory of God is found in both. He wired us up to be the way we are, and when we discovered that simple truth, the pressure was off.
Slowly we began to let each one be ourselves ... without penalty.
It was grace reborn in the both of us.
I'd say the greatest proof of grace that we now extend to one another is found in the fact that we have stopped looking to one another to fulfill our every desire. I discovered that Michelle cannot, ultimately, make me happy. She discovered that truth about me long before I came to that same realization.
The truth is, God never, ever intended my ultimate fulfillment to come from Michelle, nor did He intend for her to look to me to complete all of her dreams. The reason is simple: why would God ever want any of us to look to another person to bring us ultimate happiness? It cannot be done.
God doesn't want any of us to look to another sinner, a person far less than perfect, to be the source from which we get our joy and identity. Only God can make me truly happy. Only God can fulfill all of Michelle's dreams and desires. So when we stopped expecting the impossible from one another, we began to see grace flow into places we'd never before seen it.
I found myself starting to think about how my decisions would affect her, yet all the while looking at my decisions through her lenses instead of mine. She began to see that she could let me be my erratic self, and in doing so, her whole entire world would not, in fact, explode. Grace abounded.
Grace. It's at the top of our list for the reasons we've continued to stay faithful to one another in our promise to stay married. Thank God for grace that is only found in a relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. - 1 Corinthians 16:23