5 ideas for how to show grace in your marriage as a leader

How do we keep selfishness from becoming a major problem in our marriages? Here are five easy ways we can model grace in our marriages on a daily basis. 

Most of us might not admit it, but we’re selfish people. We put our own needs above others. We are usually thinking about ways our spouse could serve us instead of the other way around. We work hard. We spend hours doing chores and running errands. Then there’s the church we serve. There’s either a meeting or an opportunity to serve, right?!

grace in marriage

Does any of this sound familiar? Unfortunately, we all struggle with selfishness. As believers and as leaders, we get it. We have to fight our sinful tendencies, but it isn’t easy. Marriage can become a selfish place if we aren’t careful to actively guard against it. Especially as marriage leaders, whether as pastors or lay leaders, in our busy day-to-day lives, selfishness can creep up on us because we feel justified in the fact that we are sacrificing so much for our family.

How do we keep selfishness from festering and becoming a problem in our marriages? How to we keep and model grace to those around us and those we serve?

Here are 5 easy ways to show grace in your marriage on a daily basis:

  1. Admit that you are selfish. 
    Sounds simple enough, huh? Admitting you act in selfish ways brings awareness to the problem. You are being vulnerable and transparent when you vocalize your sin to your spouse.
  2. Realize your spouse’s value and be thankful for it. 
    Notice the little things that your spouse does to sacrifice for your needs. I am sure, like my spouse, there are many. Sometimes just taking your attention off of yourself and recognizing the value your spouse brings to your family’s life will be a complete mood booster. Gratitude goes a long way in modeling a grace-filled marriage to others.
  3. Make requests instead of demands. 
    The old saying is often true, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference.” This rings so true in marriage. When we demand things, our spouse feels small and defensive, but when we ask in humility and full of grace, the same desire or need is welcomed and accomplished with joy.
  4. Be humble. 
    Approaching every situation and every conversation with humility and grace is the goal in our marriages. Putting away the “me” mentality to make room for the “we” is always a good way to humbly approach your spouse.
  5. Extend forgiveness early and often. 
    We have the power to forgive each other because Christ forgave us. Let go of harbored hurts through the power of the Holy Spirit. You will then have the freedom to love your spouse better, and in return, they will feel that and love you even more.

Philippians 2:3-4 tell us, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.”

That verse is such a wonderful model for marriage. It is our joy and honor to be able to put our spouses’ interests and needs above our own. Selfishness is a vicious cycle with no winner. Giving of ourselves can be difficult but that is not the same thing as bad. Like any other “habit,” learning to fight selfishness will come easier the more you practice. Use these 5 ideas to get in the habit of making more of your spouse and less of yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed!