God calls us to give grace to those around us. Why? Because He first gave grace to us, when we didn’t deserve it.

Grace is a necessity for a strong and lasting marriage relationship. Dr. Greg Smalley shares practical ways to give grace to your spouse.

“One of the biggest is being able to look past your spouse’s quirks, their weaknesses, the things that are irritating you, frustrating you in that moment.”

We all have moments in marriage that are less than spectacular and we fall short of the behavior or standards we have for our selves. Giving grace in those moments requires a big-picture perspective.

“I think it’s being able to look past how your spouse is showing up in that exact moment. To think about and focus on who they really are. Think about that for a moment, there are so many things that we do that are irritating, but in the moment when I’m being irritated or frustrated, grace will look past that stuff.”

Does that mean I should ignore my spouses problems?

To illustrate his point, Greg makes uses the analogy of a photo.

“If you’re taking a photo, and you want to take a picture of a person who’s farther away, but there’s something up close that the camera has to sort of blur out in order to really get clear focus on the thing that’s further off, I think that’s grace. I look through and past the minor irritation to go, I know who Erin really is.”

We don’t want to see our spouse exclusively through the lens of that moment. Instead, we want to reflect on who we know them to be.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7


Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.  In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. He also serves as a media spokesperson on these matters.

Key Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-9

Featured Songs: Open Hands – Laura Story; Eye of the Storm – Ryan Stevenson; Deeper – Meredith Andrews

Grace in marriage

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