In the Gospel of John chapter 11 we are given the account about Lazarus of Bethany, a friend of Jesus whom he raises from the dead. The story of Lazarus demonstrates two attributes of God, his patience and grace.
Just as Jesus loved Lazarus but was patient for the purposes of building faith in God, you too must exercise patience with your spouse and allow God to work. Exercising patience with your spouse allows them the time they need to grow and gain experience in faith. It allows them time to experience both failure and success. Everyone needs time to grow and mature into their role of a husband or wife; however, spouse’s often do not wish to endure through the pains of this growth.
Patience, in that although Jesus loved Lazarus and desired to heal him, he exercised patience so that faith in God would grow. Grace, in that God restored life to Lazarus despite there being nothing deserving of this act. To Lazarus, this was grace. Grace is being rewarded for something you did not earn or deserve.
So how does this play out in a marriage? There are many times in marriage where we feel our spouse is figuratively dead in one or more areas. Perhaps they are immature, bad with finances, emotionally closed off; perhaps you feel they have grown into someone you no longer recognize. It is in these cases you may express your impatience and unwillingness to go through these changes with them, and your unwillingness to bear with their immaturity or personal difficulties.
Lazarus’ life was restored by God’s grace -something he did not earn or deserve. This challenges you while being patient with your spouse, to offer them grace. Treat them lavishly, buy them gifts, perform kind acts, praise them – not only when they are doing well but also when you feel they do not deserve it.
Man’s wisdom will tell you to withhold your love when your spouse is not loving toward you; God’s wisdom says give them grace. Reward them with your extravagant love. Some men must learn how to be a husband and some women must learn how to be a wife. Marriage does not come with an instruction manual so exercise patience and grace toward your spouse.
Romans 12:10 “ Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
When we embrace our roles are in our marriages, we respond from a place that offers reason and wisdom, contributing to God’s plan for your marriage and family.