What’s on your gratitude list this Thanksgiving—a job, good health … the birth of a new baby?

But what about your marriage? Are you really thankful for your spouse?

For some, the reply will come with a quick nod of affirmation. But for others, the answer is much more difficult.

A friend who I’ll call Ashley told me that it took her a long time to really appreciate her husband’s differences. “For quite a few years I wondered and struggled with how my husband could be so defective,” she said.

Now, more than 25 years later, his differences are on her gratitude list this Thanksgiving. “If we thought the same thoughts and did things the same way,” she said, “… we would not need each other.”

What is one thing about your spouse that you are most thankful for? Here’s how some people answered this question:

Wives’ comments about their husbands

Gives unconditional love: “Terry loves me no matter what my faults are.” —Barbara Robinson

Doesn’t hold grudges: “David has taught me that holding grudges is overrated and he’s right.” — Elizabeth Wehman

Puts God first: “I am so thankful for the time Mickey spends each morning in Bible study and prayer. … It gives me confidence in his leadership because I know he is lifting up all of his decisions and concerns to God first.” —Lynn Hargett

Is patient: “He never complains about my health, never grows weary of fixing the things I break …  He truly undergirds me with his love and never ceases to amaze me with his endless patience.” —a grateful wife

Is trustworthy: “Roger is kind and gentle, non-judgmental and has always placed me and our kids first. Even as a business owner with two dozen plus employees, I never worry about his integrity or priorities …” —Leigh

Is committed to our marriage: “I’m thankful that my spouse, Dave Ashford, listened to God when I wanted to throw in the towel and that we are now restored! And, I’m really thankful he kills the spiders for me (smile).” —Sonya Helm

Listens: “Lee listens … After 22 years of marriage, I am so blessed to be married to my best friend.” —Katie

Has transformed of a sinful habit:  “After eight years of a rough marriage, largely due to an addiction to pornography, he never hesitates to … share how he overcame his addiction.” —a grateful wife

Models leadership:  “Glen is a true leader for our family. He’s a man that is willing to say he is sorry, to help around the house, to engage with our children, to pick up the slack, to take on whatever responsibility is needed that day…even when he doesn’t feel like it.” —Shawn Solberg

Cares for others: “One of the things I appreciate the most about Daniel is his need to take care of others. This used to make me so jealous and mad. But now after 14 years of marriage, this old annoying trait … is now a blessing …” — Bethanie

Is thoughtful:Ed always looks for ways to show how much he loves me. For example, [recently] he came home from work, kissed me and kept walking out the back door to his rose garden. He cut me seven beautiful roses, arranged them in a vase, then presented them to me. Wow!” —Cindy Hansberry

Has a servant-heart: “David is so helpful with our six children and the upkeep of our super busy house. He’ll change dirty diapers without any complaint, wash dishes by hand that don’t fit into the dishwasher and fold laundry for a whole football game!” —Cheryl Adair

Is a peacemaker:  “Trey always seeks me out for reconciliation when we’ve had an argument. I tend to want to hide myself away and stew in my anger. He … doesn’t let bitterness take root.” —Jayna Richardson

Believes in the God of second chances: “I’m grateful for my husband’s willingness to go above and beyond to seek God’s restoration for our marriage after an affair. … He’s a mighty man of God now leading and loving our family.” —Jovan

Lets me dream: “Micah … rarely discourages me from dreaming big, but he usually offers practical advice and asks hard hitting questions that bring me back to reality. When we first got married, I hated how he was always raining on my parade. But now that we have been married for nine years, I love how we can balance each other out …” —Kate Wetsell

Provides: “He works so hard to be a great provider and head of our household!” —Carolyn Sarkozi Potts

Is dependable: I know that Bob will be by my side no matter what happens in our life. Two years ago I had a cancer scare and complications after the surgery to remove it. He … relied on God for my healing and was not afraid to tell others we needed prayer.” —Pam Stelter

Husbands’ comments about their wives

Married me: “I am thankful that Kimberly said ‘Yes!’  … I would not want to do life with anyone else.” —Steve Sprout

Shows unconditional love: “In spite of my knucklehead ways at times, Karen still loves me and is loyal to me.” —Dave Stuart

Knows Jesus Christ: “I am thankful Wendy is a child of God.  If it were not the case, her ability to love me in my imperfections would not be so generous … she would not be able to forgive or receive forgiveness as she does – keeping our relationship strong.” —Chad Donley

Manages our home well: “I love the insight into our children’s’ hearts that Karla brings into our marriage. She is a wonderful household manager who performs miracles of joyous memories …” —Warren

Gives encouragement: “Cheryl sees me in a more positive way than I think of myself and is constantly encouraging me to rise above the low bar that I might have otherwise settled for.” —David Adair

Is fun to be with: I love how Jennifer is full of life and just fun to be around!  God has filled her with a spirit of joy! —Duane Abbott

Prays for me: “When I dream big, Dana prays for me.  When my dreams crash around me, she prays for me.  When my job became very successful and I lost my way home being caught up in the success, she prayed for me.  When the stresses of being a business man and a youth pastor pulled me under, she prayed for me.  … She never gave up on me, never criticized me, never quit loving me, and never left my side.” —Glenn

Depends on God: “My wife has devoted and Rock-solid faith. … That has been beautifully evident as she faces very serious surgery and a possibility of cancer.” —a grateful husband

Gives me grace: “I am most thankful for the grace Cyndi has given me. … There have been times when I didn’t necessarily deserve it. … She is quick to believe me and believe in me …That makes me want to be a better man than I am.” —Mike Warren

Is reliable: “I can count on Heather. I have never felt limited in pursuing the things of God in our family.” —Gene Muckleroy

Holds me accountable: “Deborah has made me a better person by challenging me in areas of my life that only she would know about and then she becomes my number one cheerleader to encourage me to make the changes in my life.” —Abraham Lara

Empowers me: “Sarah … allows me be the spiritual leader of our family.” —Jerry Biuso

Has a teachable spirit: “When a person loves God like Anne does, it has a huge impact on her having a teachable heart. When we are in conflict or disagreement she strongly pursues resolution.” —David Newell

Asks what Christ would do: “When the feelings for each other are not there, or the hurt is significant, or the conflict is long and drawn out, the eventual question we must each ask ourselves is, “What would Christ want me to do in this situation?” This trumps everything. And I know my wife’s commitment to this is unwavering. Consequently, I know she’s in it for the long haul no matter what comes our way. For this I am most thankful!” —grateful husband

Would you like to give your spouse an amazing gift for Thanksgiving? One that will be cherished for years to come? Then how about telling your spouse the answer to this question: What one thing do you appreciate about him/her the most?

Copyright © 2013 by FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.