Building Tolerance Through Gratitude
Forget none of His benefits. Psalm 103:2, NASB
Frances and Derrick were impatient with each other. They lacked any tolerance for differences of perspective or opinion between one another.
We worked with them on several underlying issues in their marriage, and then we addressed their lack of tolerance for one another. I (David) told them that husbands and wives can develop tolerance through focusing on their spouse's strengths. For example, I told them, if I focus solely on Teresa's faults, my patience will be thin with her. Conversely, deepening my gratefulness for my wife's strengths helps me look beyond irritations and weaknesses.
Frances and Derrick discussed some of the benefits of having a grateful heart. They noted that gratitude guards us from a critical, negative attitude and a judgmental spirit. They also realized that expressions of gratitude can encourage others to continue in "good deeds?' Finally, they acknowledged that gratitude, when expressed to God, is an important element of worship.
As Frances and Derrick began applying these insights to their marriage, we encouraged them to rediscover areas where they appreciated one another. We also challenged them to revisit the things that originally attracted them to one another. Additionally, we challenged them to try to discover new things to appreciate about one another and to reflect on how those strengths bring balance to their marriage.
The principles of remembering benefits and expressing gratitude have their foundation in today's Scripture passage. We should ask ourselves often if there are blessings and dimensions of grace that we've come to take for granted. Then we need to pause to reconsider our blessings and give worship to God for them.
As we allow our hearts to be filled with gratitude, we will tolerate—even joyfully accept—our spouses and their imperfections.
What qualities in your spouse can you be appreciative of today?
Remind me often of the special blessing I’ve received in the gift of marriage.