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How mercy transforms the way we love

Marriage is harder than I thought just like real life is messier than the picture in my head. I married a good man and loving a good man requires my heart to be open and engaged. Sometimes I resist the process and settle for a lesser love, a grumpier version of myself. Sometimes a million other things distract me and my first love becomes my last. Sometimes my love falls short or refuses to adapt to the situation. Sometimes I am hard to love when you see the whole of me for 5421 days straight.

Marriage reminds me I am not yet who I want to be. But I am grateful for the person who walks besides me while I learn to love more maturely. I am learning that mature love is a merciful love.

I am not naturally a merciful person. A decade ago I scored a whopping two points in the ‘mercy’ category of a spiritual gifts assessment. Our leader laughed: Good to know, Melton, we won’t be sending you on any hospital visitations.

But Jesus has come for my mercy-deficient heart to supply what I lack. We become merciful people by having mercy poured into us. I am not surprised Jesus’ first miracle occurs at a wedding. Marriage falls short, sometimes right from the start. Jesus understands this and is always equal to the crisis. He generously pours love and mercy (or whatever else we lack) into our every empty place. We learn to receive gratefully, love others from our mended heart of mercy.

A heart of mercy is quick to forgive and keeps no record of wrongs. People I love will hurt my feelings and mess with my expectations. I need to release them from my expectations and judgment and bless them. This needs to be done repeatedly in marriage and a heart of mercy grows in ability to forgive repeatedly. Mercy also invites me to pause and apologize before further defending and over-explaining myself. We say “I am sorry” a lot.

A heart of mercy actively demonstrates compassion for my spouse. I can actually interrupt what I am doing to offer my full and undivided attention. A merciful heart listens and expresses empathy. A heart of mercy is open to a new story and does not fill in the blanks with what I think I already know about the other person. Mercy grows in us a tender wisdom to accept and see another for what they will someday become.

Mercy covers embarrassment with a lavish and generous love.

Mercy outruns the kids to the door to embrace a hard working father.

Mercy invites me to fall in love over and over again with the same person.

Mercy softens my heart to offer unexpected tenderness over the hard ground of heated discussion.

Mercy makes me bite my lip when I want to offer unsolicited advice.

Mercy calls me to the throne to find forgiveness and grace in my own time of need.

Mercy awakens my heart to love deeper and journey stronger.

Mercy grows a gentler love, a kind disposition, a peaceful spirit.

Mercy releases my need to be right.

Mercy heals my wounds and moves me to action.

Marriage is my wide open space for mercy to grow.

Marriage is hard and beautiful. A place where mercy transforms the way we love.

“ Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy…” [Col 3:12 NET]



15 Replies

  1. Astrid, stopping over from “livefreeThursday. Thank you for this wonderful reminder to be merciful in marriage. You are a blessing.

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks friend, I need this reminder the most :).

  2. Oh, Astrid! Such wisdom. I’m still laughing about the hospital committed. I too have never been asked to serve in that way! But seriously, I love when you said,”A heart of mercy is quick to forgive and keeps no record of wrongs. People I love will hurt my feelings and mess with my expectations. I need to release them from my expectations and judgment and bless them.” Me too. I work in an assisted living and we have more couples than most. On their anniversary, I take a picture and ask them their secret to a good marriage. One man told me (on his 70th wedding anniversary) that they had a steering committee and he chose never to join. I too want to stop holding people up to impossible expectations. Thank you!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks. I actually work at a hospital :)- outpatient though- and I too love having older couple patients that still seem to like each other- it is very inspiring and makes me think of how I really want to start being nicer now.

  3. Astrid, love your response to #livefree – especially “But Jesus has come for my mercy-deficient heart to supply what I lack.” Oh gosh let’s praise Him for that today, right? Have a great one! Kim

    1. Astrid Melton

      Yeah- this statement should really be a present participle or whatever indicates a never-ending need for mercy cause that’s what I got. Thanks, Kim.

  4. I’m with Kim. That was a beautiful statement. In fact, there were several beautiful statements filled with truth. I love this post!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks Suzie. Love your #livefree link-up- It’s pushed me to write once a week which is one of my writing goals.

  5. Oh, Astrid… this is beautiful! So beautiful. Thank you for the reminder! And today, I will outrun my kids to greet my hubby at the door 😉

    1. Astrid Melton

      Yippee! I’ll join you once my husband returns from his business trip- I am definitely guilty of blah greetings and I know they matter. I let stuff build up which builds walls and walls keep you from running towards love. But mercy….

  6. Robin Stewart

    very encouraging words Astrid! Thank you!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks for stopping by, Robin! The blogger I am linking up with for my weekly posts actually lives in NW AR. Hope you guys are doing well.

  7. Visiting you from live free. What a great post? I loved all the Mercy statements. Wow is all I can say?

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks, Diana. I am praying the mercy statements make their permanent home in my marriage. 🙂

  8. Marriage is hard and mercy is essential. I am glad for all the mercy I have been given over the years. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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