Unmerited. Undeserved. Essential.
Have you ever noticed the uncanny ability your spouse has to spot all the unholy aspects of who you are?
Before I was married, God said, "Mike, you have some rough edges. To help you become more Christ-like, I'm giving you Karen. That should do the trick."
So he brought Karen, whom I love dearly, into my life to identify all my shortcomings. My first response when she points out my flaws? Not gratitude!
I don't want to acknowledge that there may possibly be ugly things within me, so instead I strike back: "How dare you point out those things? What's your problem?"
Then I have the choice of either denying my failings or owning them and maturing. And Karen can either harbor anger and resentment or offer grace and forgiveness.
Imagine a marriage filled with grace. A spouse who extends joy, pleasure, sweetness, kind speech, unmerited favor.
My wife does that. I'm still working on it. Most of the time I don't deserve mercy. And yet, Karen can look at me with love and extend unmerited favor. I don't deserve grace for the times I mess up again, or leave a cup in the sink one more time.