Every now and then I’m reminded of what seemed to be an ordinary day, but one in which I learned a significant lesson within the first year of my marriage. Take a stroll with me down memory lane, if you will . . . 

Dave (my husband) was going to be home in less than an hour, and I was home sick that day. After sleeping, resting, and catching up on my favorite shows, I realized the day had gotten away. I figured since he was going to be home soon, it was about time I got off the couch and made the bed. As I started to pull up the sheets and fluff the pillows, a thought crossed my mind, and certainly not for the first time: Dave doesn’t make the bed the same way I do. In the handful of months we had been married and living under the same roof, we both realized (and fairly quickly) that we didn’t do a lot of things the same way. That caused between us the occasional glare, laugh, argument, loss of words, surprise, frustration, or genuine concern as to how the other had made it this far.

In the first five months, I can say that grace and understanding are two of the most important areas in our marriage we needed to foster and make space for. Dave actually does this really well. Or so it seems. I, on the other hand, am an OCD, independent, stubborn, “I got it,” my way works best kind of gal. So, I feel an internal struggle.

Do I correct my husband when he doesn’t do it my way—or learn to see things his way, too?

I know the former is unwise. We both need to pause and allow the other to be who they are—gifts, skills, talents, flaws and all.

I’m ever so grateful I grew up following a God who has taught me about unbelievable grace because it has made being a newlywed much more enjoyable.

I am a chaplain and a counselor and know a lot of great married couples. I knew to some extent what marriage would require of me but, like parenthood, until you’re in it, you truly don’t know. I had to consider and rely on grace right away.

Grace has allowed me to love my husband, to embrace new ways of doing and living, and the grace he extends to me helps me feel loved and appreciated.

Through grace, we can see through the eyes of the other and build one another up. By grace, we accept each other and the uniqueness of who we are as people in thought, action, and heart.

Dave (to my knowledge) still has no idea that he doesn’t make the bed the way I do, or that I notice, or that I would even care. And that’s exactly how it needs to be for us.

Grace allows us to build a marriage that isn’t about doing it his way or my way, rather it has required us to figure out our way. The third option is creative, intentional, and one that works for us both. A third way that respects what is valued by both of us and that honors husband and wife.

We recently celebrated four years of marriage, and that ordinary day seems light years behind us. But the lesson it taught me remains.

I have to keep extending the same grace that God gives me to my spouse.

Grace and understanding have nourished and refreshed our marriage in ways that we have greatly benefited from. It helps us not to get stuck in our shortcomings, but to move on with understanding, forgiveness, and joy holding us together. And though I don’t always succeed at this, I try to hold grace at the forefront of how I treat my husband each day, and I am relieved that he tries, too.

We share in this grand, beautiful, messy marriage and all the effort it takes to keep it together year after year.

You may also like:

The Secret to Marriage is Loads of Grace

To My Husband: Thank You For Being A Great Man

Marriage is Worth the Hard Parts

Pamela Palmer

Pamela Palmer is the founder of www.upheldlife.com where she produces faith resource articles and weekly devotionals to inspire keeping faith at the center of it all. She lives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is a woman in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of many people, being a small piece of each journey. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos together.