The Hidden Gift of Gratitude in Marriage and Life

I’ve never been one for “pie-in-the-sky” Polyanna thinking. On the other hand, I do believe that looking for the good in life and in those around us—in particular our spouses—will ultimately inspire and encourage us in our lives and marriages. With that said, however . . .

Gratitude to God
There’s an important promise by God in the Bible that takes an attitude of gratitude one giant step further. Let’s first look at one passage that reveals this hidden-in-plain-sight blessing. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” ~Phil. 4:6-9 (NIV)

Did you see the promise in this passage?

The apostle Paul said that when we put into practice thanksgiving by focusing on the good in our lives, as well as praying and praising God for these things, we receive His peace. And God’s peace is not just any peace. In fact . . .

So let’s look at these two important practices of gratitude . . .

1. Thanksgiving
In my opinion “thanksgiving” is better than just being grateful.

Gratitude is being glad about the good we have in our lives, recognizing who participated in giving us those blessings (Good!), though perhaps not always thanking them for it (Not-so-good).

Thanksgiving involves thanking God for His blessings—attributing these gifts as coming from Him (Better)—and perhaps even thanking any others that God has used to bless us (Best!).

How does thanksgiving work in our marriages?
By realizing we don’t have to wait for ideal circumstances or perfect behavior from our mate to practice thanksgiving.

Look at verse six again. Whenever we feel “anxious” we are to turn to God for help and thank Him for the good He is already doing. That might seem impossible to do when our mate is the one creating our anxiety. 😉

I challenge you the next time your mate does something that increases your anxiety to try this: turn to God in prayer and thank Him for the good you see—even if the only good you see is that He is there with you. #morethanenough

2. Focusing on the good
This is when we intentionally turn our focus from the bad moments and zero in on the good, because there is always some good present in each moment. Reread that sentence again in case you missed it, because God allows the bad in our lives so that we will learn to focus on His good.

If you made this practice of “focusing on the good” a habit in your relationship with your spouse, how would your marriage change?

Would it improve or would it only be influenced by your “pie-in-the-sky” positivity?

Either way, I bet you’ll achieve it through your practice of refocusing on God’s grace and goodness.

Now that’s certainly something to be grateful for!

To read more from my “Persevere in the Lord” series click here.

How do you think your attitude would change if you practiced thanksgiving and focusing on the good in your spouse?

 

What is one thing you’re thankful for in your mate?

 


Linking up with these fine blogs –  Making Your Home Sing, Moments of Hope, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Faith ‘n Friends, Word of God Speak, Spiritual Sundays, Carolina @ Cisneros Cafe, Sitting Among Friends, Grace and Truth, Family, Friendship and Faith, and DanceWithJesusFriday

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  • This Philippians passage always hits home … it’s one of my favorites, the one I speak to clients, the one I pray in the middle of the night. Thank you for enlarging my understanding of what thanksgiving looks like, friend. I always come hungry to the feast you prepare for us!

  • Mary

    Your words today go along with everything I am reading in Jennifer Dukes Lee new book, The Happiness Dare. There is something about choosing gratitude even when it is the last thing we want to do, that creates happiness. It is a perspective changer that allows us to see a different point of view. I can imagine how gratitude and looking at the good could improve one’s marriage immeasurably. Thank you for leaving us with the words from Philippians 4. The message of peace in the face of anxiety brings hope. Love these words today, Beth!

  • Hard to narrow it down to one thing . . .
    I guess the foundational thing is that I trust his love for me. It’s a given.
    Also, thanks for this focus on gratitude. I need a continual reminder to go there first!

  • Carolina

    My spouse would definitely feel more appreciated and respected. Great post. Glad to be your neighbor at Sitting with Friends at Seeking God. Have a blessed week.

  • Ann Pop

    I’m so thankful for my husband’s love, support, and faithfulness to me. He is also always willing to talk through things with me and puts up with my emotional ups and downs. Guess I have too many things to list!!! Yes, he has his drawbacka, but I think he’s one amazing guy!!

  • This is such important truth, especially for marriages. It’s deceptively simple, isn’t it? Some may even view it as cliched or trite. But cultivating a heart of gratitude goes such a long way toward positively shaping our attitudes. Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

  • Kelsey Remmelts

    Amen sista. Marriage is hard work and I always ask God to change my heart and my way of thinking when I lose patience with my hubby. I am very grateful that God brought me another husband to love and honor (I am a widow) and I do not take it for granite. Blessings!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Sorry it’s taken me awhile to get a comment up.

    Going from sunrise to sunrise. Seeing a new day, surviving into a new day – blessing enough.

  • Carolina

    So glad to have you link up! #cisnerscafe #OpenMicMonday <3

  • Focusing on the good with a heart of thanksgiving forces us to change our perspective and it opens our hearts to allow God in to do the work only He can so beautifully do! Love this, Beth! Thank you, friend, for sharing this hope for our marriages alongside me at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori