There is a mark of maturity in faithful marriages that runs counter-intuitive to what we might think. When a husband and a wife are enjoying the fruit of a strong marriage, those looking from outside might be impressed at how much he loves her and how much she respects him, which of course, is the mark of obedience unto the Lord and required of husbands and wives regardless of the state of the marriage.
But in a marriage where both parties are bent, bowed down and full of glad submission to their Lord and Savior, overwhelmed by His grace and goodness to them, they tend to notice less and less how much they are respecting or loving, sacrificing for the other – these things are flowing out of them as a by-product of their glad submission and not according to whether or not their spouse has earned such love or respect.
In fact, in such marriages, ask the man and he will tell you how incredible it is that his wife ever respects him – because he knows how much he does not qualify for such respect – and he knows that his wife knows better than anyone. Ask that wife and she will tell you she is amazed that her husband ever loves her or that he loves her so much – it makes little sense to her – for she knows that she does not qualify for such love – and she knows that her husband knows better than anyone.
And the Gospel of grace goes forth – and the mystery of marriage is revealed – and the two grow in the mercy and grace they receive from their Savior along with the means of that grace so often manifested to them from their spouse who is overflowing with the grace and mercy he or she is basking in because of the love of God through Jesus Christ.