All Wives

Admiration Through Gratitude

May 4, 2022

By Stacey Tolbert

Have you found yourself looking for glimpses of the admiration you once held for your husband, only to be blinded by his annoying habits or truly hurtful circumstances? Every relationship is hard and requires effort to look for the best in others, marriage is likely the most difficult, as you see every tiny flaw, and risk giving yourself over to intimacy and complete trust.  

When Gratitude is a Challenge

A few years ago, around our 20th year of marriage, my husband and I were both focused on our careers and trying to perfect the divide and conquer strategy. We were exhausted with only two drivers, chauffeuring our four kids to practices and being present for games and concerts. Both of our parents were aging, and in need of greater care. We were at a place in our marriage in which there was little time to connect and keeping up with responsibilities was an endless merry-go-round.  Since our circumstances felt out of our control, we tried to control one another, rather than being grateful.  

I was experiencing my husband’s admirable qualities of leadership in our marriage as controlling and hurtful, as it felt like he ignored my opinions.  Through conversations and counseling,  one of the things I learned was that when he took the lead, he was seeking to protect me from the responsibility and stress of making decisions, not to disregard me. This was a critical moment for us.  I began to express gratitude for my husband’s positive qualities, focusing on the ways he sought to love me and our family, instead of reacting with hurt and assuming the worst.  

Was there a moment of hurt in your marriage, a time you chose to stop being grateful?  Can you pinpoint a moment or specific behaviors that make gratitude and admiration of your husband difficult for you? Consider giving those to God and asking for him to help you forgive your husband for the hurt that was caused.  

Choosing to Practice Gratitude

It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(NIV) When we look for the good and give thanks, we train our hearts to be joyful. Admiration for your husband is developed as you practice daily gratitude for tokens of love; starting your car in the winter, making coffee before you wake up, filling up the gas tank, going to your favorite restaurant.  

Perhaps you find it difficult to be grateful for anything your husband does, maybe he doesn’t express love in ways that are meaningful to you.  Begin to turn your heart to gratitude for God and all that he has given you.  We can find joy in God’s gifts that can fulfill us, regardless of our husband’s ability to meet our expectations.  People will let us down, including our husbands, but God’s love never fails, his love endures forever.  As we focus on God’s love for us, we can choose to admire our husbands as God’s gift in our lives.  

Practicing gratitude for your husband each day will turn your heart and mind to his good qualities. When you offer expressions of thanks, you focus on all that you admire about him. When you focus on your pet peeves, such as leaving clothes on the floor and dishes in the sink, you become ungrateful and focus on the negative. It is a choice to practice gratitude for your husband, this practice can shape our mindset, leading to greater joy, contentment and admiration.  

Wife Step: Begin a list or journal of 3-5 qualities your husband has that you are grateful for, this could be a character trait or something he does.  Read the list and give thanks to God for these qualities throughout the week.

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Admiration Through Gratitude

Stacey Tolbert is a writer, Director of Engagement, and women’s ministry leader at the church her husband pastors in Northwest Ohio. Stacey and her husband have been serving in ministry together for over 20 years. Stacey has journeyed from college ministry to being a stay-at-home mom to their four children, to full-time teaching, and finally following the call to share her gifts through writing and ministry. Her heart is to help women discover their greatest potential, as they learn to embrace their God-given gifts, both in marriage and in life.

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