Attitude of Gratitude

We’ve all seen and read devotionals, psychology articles, etc. that point toward the benefits of practicing gratitude. But, did you know gratitude can be a helpful component of trust building and marital restoration?

If you’ve violated trust in your marriage, when was the last time you told your spouse you are thankful they didn’t leave you? I mean directly and to the point; “Shelley, I want you to know that I’m thankful for your willingness to stay with me, and for working through the pain I’ve caused you”.

Likewise, when was the last time you told your spouse what you are thankful for about them? I’m not talking about being thankful for what your spouse does, or does for you, or how they make you feel; I mean practicing gratitude for who they are.

A lot of wives want their husbands to want them. In the wake of betrayal, I often hear wives say they want to be wanted for who they are; not what they do, nor what their body is like, nor how they parent, or how they keep the business afloat, or their cooking. To hear, directly, what you love about your wife and that you appreciate the difficulty of choosing to work through things can be healing to them. It can build trust.

We get to benefit from practicing gratitude too. Sometimes I need a reminder that I’m thankful Shelley didn’t leave. Sometimes I need the reminder that her character traits are honorable, cherish-able and unique. In the end, we both benefit.

As an example of practicing gratitude, here’s a recent text I sent Shelley. Maybe you can steal some of it for your own:

——— I cannot imagine life without you. I don’t want to imagine life without you. You said recently that its scary to let yourself need me, and likewise, I think its a little scary to let myself need you too. The intensity of emotion I feel when I think about you leaving, or blowing up our lives again and losing you, is unreal. I don’t ever want to put us or you in jeopardy again. I sure do love you. thank you for not leaving me.——–

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Through Impasses

Steve Arterburn

Men, just like with you, your wife’s weaknesses will create impasses and threaten marital oneness. What will you do to bring oneness from such impasses? Demand that she straighten up and fly right? Surely there’s a more effective way to help her when she needs guidance. Why not lay down your ‘rights’ as the leader and graciously love her through these impasses?

 

Men, I want to present you with a challenge today: Stop evaluating your wife and resenting her because she doesn’t perfectly measure up to your standards. Instead, start accepting and appreciating her’and show her that in practical ways. When you demand that she change, or manipulate her into changing, you actually cause her to dig in her heels in order to defend her ground and the person she is. But when you accept her and love her no matter what, she drops her guard. She stops digging in her heels because she feels free to be the best she can be. Free to change. Free to be the wife you need.

So if your approach has been to crow like a rooster over every one of your wife’s imperfections, I suggest you eat some crow. Confess your unloving attitude to God and to her, and watch what happens. If she’s like 98 percent of all women, she will draw closer to you. And your relationship will continue to grow for as long as you appreciate and accept her’imperfections and all.

The Pursuit of Purity

Psalm 119:9: ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.‘  Matthew 5:8: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’

Pursuing purity is a reality for every believer in Christ. Yes, even those who struggle with sexual addiction and lust. What seems impossible with man is possible with God. God is able to transform us through the renewing of our mind and lives.

I see purity as an attitude of the heart that will result in a lifestyle change. It is an active decision every day to commit yourself to the pursuit of purity. ‘One day at a time’ is the expression used in AA. Each morning you decide for moral purity. Keeping yourself pure according to ‘Thy word’ requires a daily plan. Essential to your plan is another heart attitude, humility.

Humility is best reflected in the example Christ set for us to follow. Paul, in Philippians 2: 3-8, reminds us of the importance of focusing on the needs of others and not exclusively our own, which so characterizes our selfish nature. Humility of mind reminds me daily that, apart from Christ, I can do nothing. I am dependent on Him to be able to live right. Pride is the opposite of humility, an attitude that says I can do this myself without God. Just remember where that attitude (pride) got you.

So the commitment to be morally pure is a daily one, where you build new patterns of thinking and behaving motivated by a change in heart. Peter put it this way in 2 Peter 1:5-8:

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Job made a covenant with his eyes to not look lustfully on a woman. Learning to turn away from lustful thoughts requires the daily discipline of replacing old thoughts and sinful patterns with new and God honoring ones. In your daily plan, be sure to include scripture memorization, mediation, and study of God’s word. Find a bible study group or take a class with others. Learning the scriptures and encouraging one another makes studying enjoyable and enriching. Doing this also helps you build relationships where you can develop accountability and fellowship.

Another part of your daily plan in pursuit of purity is to have a means of confession or honest discussion about your thought life. I know that when we admit any thoughts that bother us to another, the thoughts lose their power. Having another person pray with you can really encourage you. James 5:16 is a reminder of the power of confession, and Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts us ‘to consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.’ Having another person to share with also helps you overcome the deceitfulness of your own heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Asking someone to mentor you in the spiritual disciplines can really be helpful. Look for people who have walked with the Lord and have a mature walk with God. Ask your Pastor for guidance to find someone to mentor you. Sponsors, like mentors, are very helpful in your specific area of recovery. They guide and coach you in the recovery process. A spiritual mentor may not have specific knowledge about addiction, but would bring the wisdom and knowledge that comes with walking in relationship with God. You need both.

In closing, as you seek God in pursuit of purity, He will enable you to develop the disciplines that have been lacking in your life. Ask Him to give you a heart inclined towards purity. As Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’

For more help on this subject, please see Every Man’s Battle and our Resources for Men.

Chris Cole