Where does grace come from? Why is it that some can exhibit the hard reality of grace, and experience the healing of its touch . . . and others are just hardened? Sadly, I have been in the presence of couples whose marriage felt graceless. There was no gift between them and there was no gift within them. I have often wondered, from where does the grace come?
In Christianity, extending grace towards others is possible because grace has already been received. “But by the grace of God, go I” is the reminder that I have been touched by the healing power of grace and so, I can give that touch to those in need. The grace of God empowers us to act gracefully towards others. “We love others because he first loved us.” I have received the gift. That gift has made me secure. Now, I can give to others out of my “wealth.”
But grace also exists outside of the Christian tradition. It is the most salient factor for all relationships: Christian or otherwise, marital, professional, or collegial. As in Christianity, the gift of marital grace must come from a previous experience of grace. I have never seen grace self-generated. It is passed from person to person. We receive it, learn from it, allow it to change us and extend it to others. Some are able to experience a model of grace from childhood on. They are raised in homes where the marriage works. The parents love each other, and exhibit that love in a mature and consistent manner. Those who are not so fortunate must learn of grace from other relationships.