It was my first time attending this Bible study. The group was a sprinkling of generations. Expectant moms, soccer moms and women with graying hair all greeted one another and settled in for their morning together.
Then, one by one, the women of different ages and seasons stood to celebrate their husbands, acknowledging how hard their husbands worked, expressing gratefulness for the ways their husbands helped around the house, or praising their husbands for little displays of love for their wives and families.
It appeared I was surrounded by happy women with perfect husbands. Jealousy rose in me as I wondered, Am I the only person in the room who doesn’t have a great story to share?
Then it dawned on me: These women were making the decision to look for the good in their husbands. They were choosing to focus their thoughts on what was “excellent and praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). After years of being a perfectionist, that type of positive thinking didn’t come naturally to me. Instead, the high expectations I had of myself and even higher expectations I had of my husband meant I tended to view both of us in light of where we fell short, rather than focusing on what we did well.
But in choosing this perspective, I had allowed my attitude, behavior and words to slice away at the confidence my husband felt I had in him, tearing down the very thing I wanted to be building up — a solid, thriving, love-saturated marriage.
Something needed to change, and that day, in that Bible study, I decided to start making a different choice. Maybe these women were on to something.
So, when my turn came, I stood and chose to celebrate my husband. And you know what? After I decided to be deliberate in applauding my mate, I realized there is so much to applaud him for!
When I acknowledge the little things he does to show he cares, tell him that his presence in my life brings me joy, or speak well of him — in front of him and in front of others — these recognitions not only strengthen our relationship but also build his confidence.
Consider making a list of what you love about your husband, telling others about the love and appreciation you have for him, and most important, communicating these things to your husband! Choose to focus on the good and celebrate the man you married.
Chrystal Evans Hurst is co-author of Kingdom Woman: Embracing your purpose, power and possibilities.