The Freedom of Grace
By Daniel & Bonnie Hoover
How many “friends” have you lost in the new year? We were all ready for 2020 to be gone in hopes 2021 would be better in our world. But only a month in, we’re starting to see that was wishful thinking. Our nation is so divided right now, and we’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the hatred we’ve witnessed between “friends.”
We’ve had to limit our interaction with social media because people aren’t exactly being kind to each other. In a country that boasts of our ability to exchange ideas and differences of opinion freely, we see less and less safety for the expression of conflicting views. We write people off or unfriend them over things we would never even talk to them about face to face. That may have become the acceptable norm for social media friendships, but it doesn’t work in marriage.
One of the beautiful things about the marriage relationship is the ability to walk through life with someone different from us. There have been times through our twenty-five-year relationship that opposing ideas and opinions led to conflict and misunderstandings. But, we have learned to appreciate each others’ unique personalities, perspectives, and interests. But that has only happened through a daily dose of grace.
Several years ago, we read a book that breathed life into our marriage. In their book, Grace Filled Marriage, Dr. Tim Kimmel and his wife Darcy share that “the missing ingredient in most marriages isn’t love, it’s grace.” You know what, we think they’re on to something. They write that grace offers several freedoms in the marriage relationship. Over time, we’ve seen that we enjoy these four freedoms when we extend grace to each other.
- The Freedom to different. Our marriage is a safe place to express differences of opinion, likes, and dislikes. We can be different from each other and different from the rest of the world. Sometimes one of us will look at the other and say, “I’m so glad we can be weird together!”
- The Freedom to be vulnerable. Our relationship is a place we can share our thoughts, dreams, and hearts without judgment. We’ve learned to take each other seriously and listen with empathy, which deepens our intimacy and makes us feel closer.
- The Freedom to be candid. Both of us have a voice in our marriage, which allows us to be honest with each other when we disagree. We can express a difference in opinion without worrying it will be held against us.
- The Freedom to make mistakes. Thank the Lord for this one! Marriage is made up of two imperfect people who spend a lifetime offending and forgiving each other.
Without grace, we wouldn’t have made it through the first two weeks of marriage, much less twenty-five years! In a society that is less and less tolerant of “different,” the last thing we want to do is “unfriend” each other. We want our home to be a safe place where we are free to be ourselves. We got married over two decades ago because we were in love. All these years later, we continue to love each other because of grace.
“Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.”– 1 Peter 4:8
Dr. Tim and Darcy Kimmel. Grace Filled Marriage, The Missing Piece. The Place to Start, (Franklin, TN: Worthy Books, an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2013).