Here in the States [and other parts of the world], we commemorate a day of Thanksgiving. There are many who have political concerns with what this day celebrates. But for now, I want to side step the debate. Instead, for us, Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for all that we have. It is a day to go against our natural instincts. Most people do not spend their days being thankful. We are much more likely to be self-critical, feel slighted, and seek ways of getting more and more. That is why we want to focus on giving God an expression of thanks.
An Expression of Thanks
“Marriages tend to suffer when we spend our time thinking about what we don’t have. When we compare our spouse to someone else, or focus on the weaknesses of our relationship, or find all that makes us unhappy, we move in that direction.
“There is an endless list of people to whom we can compare our spouse. And we have a nearly infinite list of weaknesses in a relationship. But for today, just today, change the flow. Focus on what you are thankful for. What about the relationship do you cherish? What about your spouse do you treasure? If your answer is ‘nothing,’ you are not looking fairly or deeply.
“When we focus on what we are thankful for, a magical thing happens. We find more things for which to be thankful! We turn off the critical switch in our brain for just an instant. For a split second, we exist in an area of appreciation. And our task is to expand that appreciation into more and longer moments.”
“Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are! I hope you find what is a treasure in your life, and cherish it today!”
Expression of Thanks Despite Struggles
The above message was written a number of years ago by Lee H. Baucom, in an article posted on the Savethemarriage.com web site titled “Thanksgiving and Marriage.” We include it in this Marriage Message because what he wrote expresses our sentiments exactly. We can focus on that, which is wrong. Or we can focus on the blessings we have. We’re told in the Bible to “give thanks in all circumstances, because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We realize that many of you are struggling in your marriages. And for that we are sorry. You feel alone, though married, and abandoned, even though God has told you He would “never abandon you.” You may want to see His hand, His care, and His presence, but you don’t.
However, we hope that something that Paul David Tripp wrote in his book, What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage ministers to your heart and circumstances. We hope it helps you through these tough times:
“Our purpose for marriage tends to be different from the Lord’s. Our desire is that our marriages would be the location of our comfort, ease, and enjoyment. We often have desires no bigger than this. But God’s purpose is that each of our marriages would be a tool for something that is way more miraculous and glorious than our tiny, little, self-focused definition of happiness. He has designed marriage to be one of his most effective and efficient tools of personal holiness. He has designed your marriage to change you.”
He also writes on this point,
“God is in control, not only of the locations in which you live, but also of the influences that have shaped you as a person. He has not only written the story of you and your spouse and determined that your stories would intersect but he has controlled all the things that have made you different from one another. As you struggle, you must not view your marriage as bad luck, or poor planning. Don’t view it as a mess that you made for yourself. No, God is right smack-dab in the middle of your struggle. He is not surprised by what you are facing today. He is up to something.”
The question is: will you participate with Him in His plan for your life? Or will you struggle against the work He is trying to accomplish WITHIN and THROUGH you?
On a personal note:
Cindy and I want you to know how THANKFUL we are for you —our subscribers, web site visitors and supporters. We’re especially grateful for how God has allowed us to participate in His plan for YOUR marriage. For those of you who support us in prayer and financially, we want to especially thank you for your help. We couldn’t do this without you!
We want to remind you that if you do any shopping throughout the year, you can do it through Amazon.com. You can help support this ministry, if you do it through our web site at. Just go to the right sidebar of any page. Then enter Amazon through the blue window where it says, “Shop and Save Marriages.” When you do this a small portion of whatever you purchase will be sent back to Marriage Missions International. You still get all of the discounts and we get the blessing of financial support for our work. It’s a win/win situation!
So, with a very grateful heart Cindy and I give all Praise to God. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)
Steve and Cindy Wright
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Marriage Messages