How to Be More Grateful and Make Your Marriage Stronger

Need to find joy and gratitude in your current marriage situation? Then come by MM to read how! #marriage #troubles #gratitude #joy #struggles #Bible #inspiration #quotes #verses

Being grateful is not an attitude and choice I easily make most days. Because I’m rather detail-oriented, my eye immediately goes to the visual imperfection or the disappointment in most situations.

Yes! I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’m more of a glass-half-empty kind of gal.

Need to find joy and gratitude in your current marriage situation? Then come by MM to read how! #marriage #troubles #gratitude #joy #struggles #Bible #inspiration #quotes #verses

But I remember a story I read in middle school from Corrie Ten Boom’s book—The Hiding Place—that convicts me about gratitude to this day. You may be familiar. In case you’re not, allow me to recap.

Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken as prisoners in a Nazi Concentration Camp during World War II. They were arrested after the “hiding place,” where they hid Jews who’d sought shelter with them, was discovered in their home.

While Corrie and Betsie were in the concentration camp, they shared their faith with all the other prisoners, even holding a daily Bible study in their barracks. But, this too, had to be kept a secret or they could have been tortured and, likely, killed.

One day Betsie felt the need to thank God for “all things” based on what she observed 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.”

But Corrie balked at this outlandish idea. Still, Betsie persisted in praying for all the good and bad things in their lives, including an infestation of fleas in their beds. This sent Corrie reeling, only to be reminded of what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says . . .

“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ Betsie quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”

Later, Betsie discovered that the guards avoided coming into the barracks all because of the fleas! This proved to the sisters just how important it is to thank God in ALL circumstances!

[bctt tweet=”There’s always something good God is doing through the hardships you and I face. So there’s really no excuse for not being grateful to God every day! #gratitude” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

I’m also convinced that gratitude is essential to staying encouraged in marriage and emotionally attractive to our mates.

So, let’s gain insight into how much gratitude is a part of our lives and marriage, using the questions I’ve provided.

Hover over each Scripture below to see where the questions spring from—scoring yourself based on: 1 never; 2 rarely; 3 sometimes; 4 often; 5 almost always.

To download the inventory and discover your overall score, click this link—Gratitude Inventory.

1. When I suffer for Christ’s sake, I take great joy in this opportunity, just like the apostles did (Acts 5:41).

I’m a 3 here, partly because I don’t really suffer for Christ’s sake. Maybe I suffer in nominal ways, trying to give of my time and efforts to serve in various capacities. But that’s not near what these apostles were experiencing! I’m sure I would buckle under that kind of pressure!

If we want to grow in this area, we must let our devotion to Christ be our motivation to persevere in persecution and pain.

2. When I go through troubles and trials, I am quick to rejoice because I know God will use it to strengthen my character into greater Christlikeness (Romans 5:3-4; II Corinthians 12:9-10; James 1:2-4).

I’m a 4 here, not because I do this immediately, but because I do it rather quickly. This is due in large part to having been a Christ-follower for so long. I’ve seen over and over how God has used the struggles in my life to refine my character.

To grow stronger here, it’s important to take stock of the ways God has worked in your life through trials and uncertainties. It’s sure to encourage you when you see it in black and white!

3. I regularly pray and thank God for my Christian friends (Ephesians 1:16; I Thessalonians 1:2).

This was an interesting question since I can score myself very high on one part, but less so on the other. I’m a 5 for praying for friends, since I do that ALL.THE.TIME! But I’m a 3 in thanking God for them, so a 4 overall. I don’t do that nearly often enough, but will start ASAP!

Struggling here? This is simple to fix and begin to do! If you’re afraid you’ll forget, put a reminder to do it somewhere … NOW!

4. I strive to give thanks to God in ALL circumstances because I know it is God’s will for me to do this (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

This one is probably a 4, like number #2 above. I’m convinced that giving thanks to God is His will for me, I just need to do it immediately. It usually takes me some brief measure of time before I can truly rejoice.

The next time you struggle here, maybe it would help to remember Betsie Ten Boom’s inspiring response during a time of intense suffering.

5. When I feel anxious, I pray and thank God, knowing He will take my worries and exchange them for His peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

I’m probably a 5 here, only because I’ve discovered over the years how great this works! It has become my default in times of anxiety.

If you struggle here, then try this out the next time you’re stressed and anxious. But be sure to write out Philippians 4:6-7 on a card so you can follow the process to the letter—truly releasing your burden to God!

6. I regularly take stock of all the good God is doing, and sometimes end up laughing with delight or bursting into song when I realize how amazing God is to me (Psalm 126:2-3)!

This might be a 3 for me because I’m not stopping often enough to take stock, nor do I end up feeling this degree of joy when I do. I must not be totally comprehending the mystery and marvel of God’s provision and care.

If you struggle here, play your favorite worship song while you belt out the lyrics as a song of praise to God and I’ll do the same! 

My overall score was 23, so I have a strong level of gratitude. But I want to strive for more because I know just how important this is to my life and marriage!

I plan to work on number 6, where I scored a 3, because taking stock of the good God has done for me truly will increase my gratitude. It also can elevate my mood, strengthen my faith and encourage not just myself but also my husband and family.

How about you? If you work on being more grateful, I promise it will do the same for you and your marriage!

Remember your overall score can be tabulated by clicking the Gratitude Inventory link. It will open up to view the inventory and the ranges for scoring yourself. 

FYI: I will be taking a break from the Insight for 2020 series until August 2020. In the meantime, I’ll be updating some of my vintage posts throughout the summer, so keep coming back by! 


 

Which of the six ways we can strive to be more grateful do you need to work on the most? 

 

What is one way you are grateful for your life or marriage?

 


Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayLiterary Musing MondaysPurposeful Faith, Tell His StoryInstaEncouragements LinkupRecharge WednesdayWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth, and  Faith on Fire Friday. Subscribe [yikes-mailchimp form=”1″]
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8 responses to “How to Be More Grateful and Make Your Marriage Stronger”

  1. Beth,
    I think it would have been really hard to give thanks for fleas, but as you pointed out in the story, it was the fleas that kept the guards away so that they could spend time with God. Sometimes I think I need to have more gratitude simply for the fact that God knows what He’s doing even if I don’t. As you read in my post, I’m not thankful for the fact I was fired from my job years ago because it led to such a blessed ending in the long run. I need to work on exchanging anxiety for peace. Looking back to God’s faithfulness helps me with maintaining an attitude of gratitude.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  2. Wow! Thank you for posting this, Beth. I thought my gratitude level was pretty high until I did this evaluation. Now I can see that I give thanks for the good in my life but not necessarily for ALL things. I need to do a better job. I don’t think I would ever think to give thanks for fleas, but all things means exactly that – ALL things! Thank you for helping me take an honest look at myself to see an area I can improve on. More gratitude!

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  3. I love Corrie ten Boom’s book and that particular story always challenges me to look for reasons to be grateful even in hard circumstances. I really like this gratitude inventory. I will need to take it too! It has helped me in anxious seasons to daily journal at least 1 thing I am thankful for, as small as it may seem. It makes a difference on my mood and overall outlook when I take my gaze off the negatives and focus on the many positive things God has placed in my life!.

    Linking my recent post on Psalm 23 if interested!

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  4. Being a a mind of gratitude is important in a marriage. When I am not grateful for things in my life or my day, I find I am not that grateful for my husband. I notice more of the annoying things he does and not the good things he does. Our attitude of gratefulness does really affect our relationships with our mate, others, and even God.

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  5. Thank you, Beth. It is hard to be grateful “in” the midst discouraging circumtances. Fleas? No, thank you. 🙂 But it’s a wonderful example of an attitudes of gratitude “in” the tough moments, but not “for” them. I often remind myself to get excited about what God’s up to…because I know He is always working behind the scenes for my good. Wonderful inventory for gratefulness in marriage. Thank you.

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  6. One and three—I accept trials, but I’m still working on rejoicing in them! Also, it never occurred to me to pray for my Christian friends. Thank you for the reminder!enjoy you time away from the busy—I always enjoy your posts so much!

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  7. Thank you, the challenge is always to have an eternal perspective, trusting that God is working all things together for our good! Dare2Hear linl up #14

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  8. Beth, hi! It’s so easy for me to lapse into a whining, complaining tone. It’s my sinful default mode. In recent years I’ve been working on speaking my gratitude to whoever, for whatever, as it washes over me. There is so much to be thankful for … and our husbands often get the short end of the stick.

    Thanks for this nudge toward holier living, friend … God has blessed us so very deeply. There is much to praise Him for.

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