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An Exercise in Gratitude


Greg and April – celebrating Greg’s birthday last week

Whatever we “feed” will grow.

  • If I focus on the bad in my husband – I will have no problem finding bad things to meditate on. That is what I did for 14+ years.  I was really good at it.
  • If I focus on the good in my husband – I can find those things, too.  This is what I have been doing for 5 years – I am now just as good at finding the good things in Greg that I can appreciate as I used to be at finding the bad things to criticize and condemn.  That is a total God thing, not an April thing!

My mind is incredibly powerful.  What I choose to think about changes the way I see people.  When I choose to think about the negative and focus on the bad things, eventually, that is all I can see.  And when I choose to think about the good things in my husband, eventually, I hardly notice the bad things anymore.


Even if the only good thing you can think of is that “he is still here” like the wife in Love and Respect (Dr Emerson Eggerichs) did- you can run with that idea!  She would say things to praise her husband about that one thing she could find that was good.  He hadn’t left her yet.  So, she’d walk by him in the living room sometimes and rub his shoulders and say things like, “It’s so nice having you around.” or “I’m so glad you are here.”  or “It’s great having a man like you to come home to.”  Just by her focusing on that one small positive attribute her attitude began to change.  She started to see other good things about her husband – and then  her whole marriage began to heal.  Thankfulness was a great first step in the right direction!


Thankfulness isn’t just a “nice thing to do.”  Did you know that God commands us to be thankful??  Not only that, it is part of His will for us to be thankful.  If we are full of His Spirit, gratitude should be part of our “native tongue.”

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let me give you some examples that I am thankful for in my husband (my list started out much shorter 5 years ago – but as I continue to live to seek to be thankful, I see more and more to be thankful for).  See if you don’t recognize some of these strengths in your own man.

Greg is:

  • faithful
  • responsible
  • dependable
  • creative
  • intelligent
  • funny
  • loving
  • kind
  • generous
  • a good provider
  • stable emotionally/spiritually
  • talented with remodelling projects
  • artistic
  • great with tools/machines
  • technically savvy
  • affectionate
  • supportive
  • gentle
  • a good listener
  • a wise leader
  • great with sports and strategy games
  • good at enjoying life
  • great at relaxing and having fun
  • responsible with money
  • peaceful – doesn’t yell or get violent
  • very easy going
  • loyal to me, our children, God, his job
  • ethical
  • forgiving
  • merciful
  • not easily angered or upset
  • great at research
  • a fast learner
  • able to conquer just about anything he sets his mind to!
  • devoted to God
  • faithful to make sure we go to a Bible-believing church
  • faithful to support our children learning the Bible by taking them to AWANA at church
  • supportive of me as a mom
  • helpful with chores
  • an involved dad who plays with the children and makes them feel special and loved
  • faithful to spend a lot of his time off at home with me and our children
  • careful to respect me as his wife, a mom and a pharmacist
  • loving toward me even when I mess up
  • an emotional and spiritual rock for me
  • protective of me when I overextend myself
  • gives wise counsel to me and to our children

I am sure you can probably come up with others for your own husband, too.  But it’s really interesting – as I began to focus on the positive qualities my husband has, and I quit bringing up and thinking about negative things- the positive, wonderful things began to grow bigger and bigger!

I’d like to encourage you to start a list of the things you admire, respect, are proud of and appreciate about your husband.  Keep it with you when you pray for him and thank God for your husband’s strengths. Keep adding to the list as you see qualities you admire.  Meditate on the good things about your man.

Maybe some time this week, you can tell him or text/email  him just  a sentence or two about something you admire and appreciate about him.

It would be a great day to list some of our incredible God’s amazing qualities and praise and thank Him for Who He is, too!

A verse I believe we could all benefit from memorizing and applying to our marriages and our lives:

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.  Philippians 4:8

9 thoughts on “An Exercise in Gratitude

  1. April, This is so true! Thank you for the HUGE blessing you are in my life, and I hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving with your family. Elizabeth

  2. I am trying to compliment my husband on something each day. I have noticed that keeps me looking for the good… much better focus! 🙂

  3. I was feeling down and depressed one day about things I was not hearing from my husband. So I told him and it ended up going so wrong. That night our daily devotional read about taking every thought captive. So I started listing all the things he has said or done for me in the past few months. I had pages and pages of things he had said or done.Right before my eyes were things he was doing and I was accusing him of not doing them. If only I had done this exercise prior to opening my mouth. This is a great exercise for all of us wives to take in!

    1. L,
      Thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s amazing how much focusing on the good and taking our thoughts captive for Christ can change our minds and our hearts. BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Throughout my relationship with my fiance I have struggled with anxiety, needing to be in control and lack of trust because of my parents family’s history. About a month ago we had to seek counseling from my pastor because I was thinking the worst of my fiance and my mind was telling me horrible lies. I have a tendency to have a “worst case scenario” mentality. My pastor encouraged me to write everyday something I am thankful for about The Lord and what I have faith in the Lord for and also something I am thankful for about my fiance for and what I have faith in him for. Its been about a month and I must say this inconveniental exercise has really helped me pull my mind out of the negative and focus on the positive especially on the days when it is difficult to find something I am thankful for and my anxiety/control/trust issues have decreased. So I am thankful for this post!

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