Gratitude over Griping
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. - Philippians 1:3-5 (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t always thank God every time that I remember my husband. Sometimes, I think I’m more prone to remind the Lord of all the ways my husband has offended me or sinned against me, rather than expressing to God a heart of gratitude. I’m much more guilty of complaining than I am about praising when it comes to people in my life—including my spouse. Yikes!
Our culture makes this normal. It’s all too common for a group of women to husband-bash over a round table of coffee, or for men to complain about their wives around the water cooler at work. But as Christians, we should turn this tide and not speak ill of our spouse.
The first step to not speaking ill is to have a heart of thankfulness toward our husbands/wives. If we’re grateful, we’re not nearly as likely to see so many things to complain about. Perspective is key. If we have gratitude constantly simmering in our hearts, the bitterness won’t have room to boil over.
This doesn’t come naturally. It’s much easier to moan and groan, than to praise and compliment. It will take effort to change this habitual way of thinking and adjust your heart to a new normal. But the effort is worth the pay-off!
One of the ways we can maintain a heart of gratitude is by praying for our spouses and thanking God for them in our daily routine. For example, when you go to pick up your husband’s socks from the floor (right beside the laundry basket), instead of griping internally about how he missed the basket again, thank God that you have a husband who is healthy and works hard for his family. When you’re washing clothes, praise the Lord that He’s provided for your family and that one of those provisions is a spouse who loves you. When you’re cooking dinner, give thanks to God for a spouse who sits down to a meal with you and is present in your home. These little efforts can start developing a new way of thinking that will bring gratitude.
Another way you can maintain a heart of gratitude is by writing down a list of things you love about your spouse. The next time they upset you and you feel that negative emotion bubbling, go to your list. Remind yourself of all the ways your spouse is a blessing. Not only does this new mindset bless your spouse, it blesses your marriage and strengthens your walk with Christ. After all, it’s hard to be close to the Lord when bitterness rules.
Think on the positive and turn that gripe into gratitude. You’ll be glad you did!
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over sixteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Visit her and see a list of books at http://www.betsystamant.com./
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