Grace Covers
Melanie Chitwood

"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8 (NAS)

Cartilage is a tissue that is found in many places in our bodies, including at the end of bones where joints form. It protects our joints from wear and tear, helps them move smoothly, and absorbs shock. When the cartilage in our knee, for example, is damaged, we feel pain.

Grace in our marriages is like the protective covering of cartilage in our joints. Couples who show each other a gracious attitude cover their marriage with understanding, protect their marriage from misunderstandings and short-tempered emotions, and help one another absorb life's jolts and shocks.

For example, the other day Scott came home late to discover that I had forgotten to turn off the hose after washing the dogs. The backyard was overflowing with water—an inconvenience and a costly mistake on my part. He could have gotten mad at me, but he didn't. His gracious attitude covered my shortcoming.

Today's key verse contains the word love rather than the word grace. That's because one aspect of love is grace. It's the part of love that is generous, forgiving, encouraging, and unconditional. It's the part of love that empowers you to fill in the gaps rather than notice what's lacking in your spouse. Grace asks, "How can I help you?" instead of growing frustrated or bitter when your spouse isn't measuring up to your standard.

Bringing criticism, judgment, and self-righteousness into your marriage is all too easy. Saying "Why didn't you…" "You should have…" or "I told you so" requires no effort. But being gracious is what we need in marriage, and that's what Christ calls us to be. We're human. We're going to disappoint one another. We're not always going to meet each other's needs.

When you are fully aware of your own weaknesses and of the ways you fall short of the glory of God, you are more likely to show your partner a gracious attitude. God's Word reminds us that "love covers." How can you cover your spouse with the love of grace today?

Dear Lord, search me, O God, and know my heart (Psalm 139:23). Soften my heart and make me willing to adopt a gracious attitude toward my spouse. Where I have been unforgiving, harsh, judgmental, or bitter toward my spouse, Lord, I am sorry and ask Your forgiveness. If we need to talk about an issue, Lord, I pray our conversation will lead us both to a gracious attitude toward one another. If there's something I need to be quiet about or just to accept, give me willingness and strength. Lord, I pray that my attitude toward my spouse will reflect Your gracious love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

This devotion was adapted from What a Wife Needs from Her Husband. Order your copy today!

Join Melanie for a conference call on "Building a Marriage that Will Last a Lifetime." For more information, please visit Melanie's blog.

For more on grace, read Fighting Words

Application Steps:
What you can do today to show a gracious attitude toward your spouse? Some ideas:
• Let it go.
• Assume the best.
• In your quiet time, think about the different ways God has covered you with grace rather than burdened you with judgment.
• Hang around friends with gracious attitudes. Let their attitudes rub off on you.
• Be careful of keeping company with people who are constantly bashing and bad-mouthing their spouses. Their bad attitudes are likely to affect yours.
• Don't say, "I told you so."

What triggers in you a harsh or judgmental reaction toward your spouse rather than a gracious reaction?

How has Christ shown you grace, and how can His grace spill over in your marriage?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 4:2, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (NIV)

1 Peter 3:7, "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way…" (NAS)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful message this morning. I appreciate the fact that your example included something that you had done that your husband handled with grace. Too often we, as women, talk about our husbands' mistakes and fail to see our own. I know I'm guilty of that! I pray that God will open my heart and guide my tongue so I can be a blessing to my husband and to everyone that I encounter today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for the devotional today. i am single mom and in the prayer i inserted children. thank you so much for the encouragement today. my children haven't lived with me in two years and my 13 year old moved back with me this past Sunday. i am asking for God's will to be done in my life and i am praying that God will give me my family back. my 15 year old daughter and i have had the zact issues and i just pray that she and i both can forgive each other and any bitterness that we feel will be replaced and filled with God's love and we'll let God let our lives. God help me to be the mom God intended for me to be. thanks again for the encouragement and for taking the time to give us a wonderful devotion today. bless you!

Blogger horseprariechatter said...

I appreciate this devotion. I need to be reminded that is was God's grace and unconditional love that has set me free to be the person He intends me to be, and I need to convey that same love and grace to my spouse. I identify with the first commentator, it is too easy to focus on the specks rather than the beams in us. Praise God, there is forgiveness, healing, and growth in that area. Thanks you

Blogger Unknown said...

Wow! This message is so important and right in time for Valentine's Day! My husband and I were middle/high school sweethearts and have been married 36 years! The secret to our mushy-in-love, still starry-eyed but not perfect relationship is all about grace. Show the same grace to your spouse each day that God shows you. Like you said, you have to let things go and to think the best about him/her. It's not always easy to do but if you ask God He'll walk you through it!Thank you for sharing this great truth!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great message i really need to live this one. i can see how it could really help so my valentines present to myself will be to show grace and love in every daily life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melanie, thank you for the devotion this morning. It has been a gentle reminder that I need to ask for forgiveness from my husband for yelling at him a few days ago when I should have been more patient and shown more grace. Thanks to you and all the P31 writers who take the time to share your experiences and wisdom with the rest of us. May God continue to bless you in your ministry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us your mistake and your husband's wonderful grace filled response. I am learning about grace-filled living because God has extended His grace toward me. It is a joy to be able to extend His grace toward others through His Power working within me!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true, it was so easy for me to tell my wife this morning "why didn't you remind the kids to..." when I should have said "I will help you get it done this afternoon." So I'm calling her right now to show grace because that's what God wants from me. Thank you for a great message.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have felt God working on me a lot in the past few months. My husband works away from home for weeks at a time and the past two weeks have been rough, I have started lots of arguments about little things that he doesn't need to be stressed about. I felt led to order you book "What a Husband Needs From His Wife" this past Friday and then this was the first email I see today! Thank you for allowing God to use you to speak to so many like me!

Anonymous Jessica said...

Thank you so much for a great devotion. I realize that sometimes I can be a "grouch," and I need to show the same kind of grace that I expect to be shown to me. Thanks for the reminder!! :-)

Blogger Melanie said...

Thank you, first of all, for being readers of Proverbs 31 devotions! Secondly, thank you for your sweet and honest comments. You encouraged me with them. I love your hearts and thank you for your honesty and have prayed for each one of you. Thank you especially to the man who commented! I love that! As brothers and sisters in Christ, we all have so many things we can learn from each other!
blessings - melanie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the application steps. I found them really helpful.
God bless

Blogger T-Reese said...

This truly was a reminder to me on what I need to do more for my husband. It is truly easy, with 3 little small children, to quickly say things that will tear him down rather than build him up. Whether I feel he needs to do more or not, I should always extend grace to him especially as the sole provider for our family. Thank you for your obedience in sharing this word. It truly ministered to me and I pray that I can show my husband an abundant amount of grace today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a couple of days behind on these devotionals and boy do I wish I had been caught up! Today I needed the message on Grace towards my husband. I blew it badly and sat here crying my eyes out in repentance as I was reading this message. I really want to wake my husband up and apologize right now, but I'll have to wait until the morning. :-)

As another reader already said, "Praise God, there is forgiveness, healing, and growth in that area!"

Thank you for your encouragement!

Blogger eph2810 said...

Powerful message, Melanie. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Melaine for this devotion. I could really relate with the way you intoduced the devotion on how God's Grace Covers our marriages using an anlogy of the knee cartilage. I am currently struggling with a painful knees and much of it I feel it is from cartilage. It really pains and hurts! I could only go OUCH, so much pain and hurt I cause my spouse when I choose to walk out of God's Grace and my mouth and tongue says piercing words to him. God please forgive me. Holy Spirit please help me to be slow to speak and quick to listen.

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