I thank God for my marriage. I am quite certain we have a love made in heaven, but as the saying goes -- thunder and lightening are made in the heavens, too! Since there are no perfect individuals in the world, there are also no perfect marriages. So what do we do with the hiccups and hurts that come from our imperfections and weakness? 

On a recent vacation, my husband and I were struggling with our family's luggage. After pulling each laden suitcase from the stuffed trunk, we set them up outside the rental car. I tried holding on to the handles to prevent our crammed luggage from toppling over, but as I released a handle to reach for something, a domino effect unfolded with the remaining six suitcases. I giggled but then thought about the tired state of my hubby - would my laughter irritate him? Thankfully, he started laughing too, and soon all the tension from rushing around washed away. 

Just as a little laughter can brighten a tense situation, an attitude of gratitude can give us a proper perspective on those things that trip us up as couples.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to, "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  It isn't difficult to give thanks for the things we want to come our way; it is the hardships that threaten our stance of praise. Hebrews 13:15 calls this a sacrifice of praise; the kind of worship and thanksgiving that requires laying down my hopes, expectations, "rights", etc and submitting them to God's good sovereignty.  God has given my husband and me a few lessons in this area. Perhaps you can relate:

Praising God in the midst personal weakness. Eric and I have very similar core motivations. One of the areas where we more frequently don't think alike, however, involves money. At the beginning of our marriage, a trip to Wal-Mart was stressful. I was a saver; he's a spender.

It's been a long journey, but both of us have learned some very valuable lessons about money. I learned that having money saved up in the bank does not equal control and stability - only God can truly gives those things. As I surrendered my need to store up money to the Lord, I also surrendered Eric's tendency to spend.

In the meantime, Eric made some poor financial decisions, but the Lord worked in those situations to teach both of us. Eric grew so much from those financial mistakes that any losses we incurred have since paid for themselves. He has learned to be much more responsible with what God has given him. Eric has also learned to heed my advice more often.

Eric and I also have more compassion for people who don't have a spotless financial record. I thank God for the way He used our personal weaknesses to teach us these valuable lessons.

Praising God in the midst of difficult circumstances.  My husband and I were serving in ministry when the Lord led us to leave our current positions. Besides the emotional hardship of leaving our church family, we had no other position awaiting us and no means of support. God's call was a total leap of faith

We moved from our home (which I loved) into a one-room studio that was less than three hundred square feet. Even our cat didn't like our new living quarters! In the middle of this not-so-fun circumstance, God showed us His provision. We had not shared our financial need with anyone. But a man from our small group came to Eric and told him that he had never heard God speak so clearly to him, and that he needed to give Eric his tax return check.The check covered our studio rent and deposit. Just days after we moved into our new shoebox of a home, we received a call from a pastor in the exact area of town we had one day hoped to serve. One month later we were embraced by a new church family.