As most of you know, I do not write marriage posts here at lessons from home, but it is a relevant topic to all of us and it is also a big stumbling block for gratitude in our lives. I asked my friend, Tiffany, from Hope Joy in Christ to write a post about embracing a life of gratitude when marriage is not beautiful. Tiffany’s blog is full of Biblical wisdom and she has a wonderful way of writing about marriage.
I would ask all the wives in the room to give me an honest answer to one question. Is marriage always beautiful? Your marriage, personally, could you always describe it as “happily ever after”? The truth is that some seasons of marriage are wonderful while some are not. Today I want to share with you how to start embracing a life of gratitude when marriage is not beautiful.
How can you embrace a life of gratitude when Marriage is not beautiful?
There is a phrase I repeat so often in Marriage Coaching with wives that my kids can quote it. When marriage is hard, hold onto Jesus. Marriage is not easy at times, even amongst those in a Christian Marriage. Faith is no guarantee of a good marriage. That’s not the pat Christian answer, but it’s the truth. When two sinful people spend life together, imperfection is the result and imperfection is not pretty or easy. Can I get an amen?
God tells us to have an attitude of gratitude regardless of life’s circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
How does that fit with a marriage that is in a difficult season? How do you embrace a life of gratitude when marriage is not beautiful? Gratitude involves two parts of your life. Your thought life and your mouth. Let’s chat through both and make a game plan for when marriage is not easy in your life as you strive to be a godly wife living in a godly marriage.
Evidence of a Grateful Life
Ephesians 4:29 NKJV Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
My mind works through life by asking questions from the end goal so forgive me as I take us backward through the process of a life of gratitude when marriage is not beautiful. What is a grateful heart? Gracious or grateful words are the mark that I measure a life of gratitude. Your words say so much about your heart and mind.
For example, by listening to my children I can tell if they need a snack, are overly tired or have been too long without adult influence. You can hear it in the way they are no longer talking but whining, the way they are yelling to be heard, the way they are pestering each other relentlessly.
In the same way that I can tell where my children’s heart and mind are centered, I can tell where my own by listening to my words. This is the practice of mindfulness. Listen to yourself, like a non-judgemental 3rd party sometimes. Are you overly critical, nagging, or whiny? Or do you hear gratitude, encouragement, and grace?
A grateful mind leads to grateful words
Now that you are being mindful of your word, stop to take the thoughts captive that lead up to the words. When I hear myself nag my husband about taking out the trash more often I hear a red flag and try to figure out what I am thinking about at the moment. Some of those thoughts sound like this:
‘He always forgets the trash before work’, or ‘he never thinks about anything that matters to me’, or ‘he has one responsibility in this house and I shouldn’t have to remind him because he’s a grown man.”
Those thoughts come from a place of expectation, unforgiveness, and pride on my part. Always, never and should are toxic words and can destroy your marriage. Anytime you hear them, take stock of where you are in your marriage and begin taking those issues fervently to God. If left unchecked the enemy will get a foothold into your marriage that you don’t want, especially when marriage is not beautiful.
Expressing gratitude in marriage
The hard reality is that marriage is not easy. You each easily become preoccupied with your own thoughts, dreams and life stresses. You will have to be intentional to embrace a life of gratitude in every season of marriage if you long for marriage to last forever. But how? Begin with mindfulness.
When you observe toxic words or negative words, take the thoughts captive that leads to those words. Then replace them with gratitude. Maybe he does always forget the trash in the morning. Is that the hill you want your marriage to die on? Surely you can take the trash out to save your marriage.
When marriage is hard, or when Marriage is not easy, it is not the season to insist your husband pull his weight with household chores. Chances are he is under attack for the enemy and desperately needs your love, respect, and support.
How can I show gratitude to my husband?
Find the things that he does well and speak to those things instead of pointing out the things he is missing. Are there parts of his character that you admire? Point them out and affirm him. Does he have dreams that inspire you? Tell him about that and lift him up. What if you spent the next 30-days speaking words of gratitude over your husband? Yes, I’m talking about a 30-day gratitude challenge for your marriage. Can you image what would change in him and your marriage?
Will you embrace a life of gratitude when Marriage is not beautiful?
I don’t know what season of marriage you are in today, but gratitude is bound to improve it. If your marriage is thriving, gratitude will build it up further and fortify your connection. If you are in a season where marriage is not beautiful, gratitude can breathe life into your spouse in ways very little else will. Words cost you little but payback exponential value in the long run.
Can I challenge you to a 30-Day Gratitude Challenge? For the next 30 days, commit to telling your husband one thing you are grateful for about him. Not sure which areas will be the most meaningful to him? Practice mindfulness.
Notice the areas you nag, complain and whine the most about. Find something in those areas to be grateful for and share it with him. You will begin to see him come to life and anticipate your next word. I’d love to hear what things you can be grateful for and speak over your husband.
Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children. Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.
Check out the other posts in the “Embracing a Life of Gratitude Series”