What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? Albert Martin, in his book, Preaching in the Holy Spirit, offers a helpful analogy:
[The Holy Spirit] does not withdraw as to His indwelling. Those whom He indwells are said to be "sealed unto the day of redemption." But if He is grieved, He generally withdraws His free operation in the same way that your wife, when grieved by your boorishness or insensitivity, withdraws her normal attitude and expression of openness or transparency, her free flow of expressed affection. She does not pull her wedding ring off her finger and throw it out the window, although there may be times when she is tempted to do so. No, she meant the vows that she took when she said, "till death do us part," but an aggrieved wife becomes a withdrawn wife. Therefore, we must not grieve the Holy Spirit.