Grace Article Online


Marriage Partnership (a product of Christianity Today, Inc.) published an abridged version of the Grace in Marriage teaching in the Fall 2008 edition of the magazine. Thanks Ginger Kolbaba for helping edit it into a condensed version.


Saving Grace

Unmerited. Undeserved. Essential.
by Michael Sytsma

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.