When was the last time you said, “thanks” to your spouse? Oh, we don’t mean saying thanks for passing the salt. It’s not about even saying, “thanks” when they get something for you that you couldn’t get on your own. Most people do that. We mean saying “thanks” for some of the little niceties that your spouse does that you may overlook in expressing thanks. And yet those “niceties” probably make your day a little brighter when they do them! So why not thank him or her? Why not give random words of thanks here and there?
Here in the United States we just celebrated a holiday called Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday dedicated for giving thanks. There’s historical significance to that day for us in our nation. And most of us here still celebrate its historical as well as its spiritual significance to us.
It originally was a day of preparing a festive dinner together for those who were helpful to the first American settlers. It was their way of saying thanks first to God for His blessings. And then it was giving thanks to those who had helped them in so many additional ways. Unfortunately many people today forget or ignore why this celebration ever happened in the first place! How we pray we never do!
And yet this morning during my prayer time I (Cindy) realized that many of us also forget to say thanks in our everyday lives —apart from this special holiday. First off, we forget to express our thankfulness to God for how He has blessed our lives. We may not have “perfect” lives this side of heaven and many of us live in very difficult situations. However, there’s always something for which, to give thanks. Things could always be worse.
Even in the most difficult of situations there are overlooked blessings that we may not be focusing on because of the bigger situation that’s receiving our attention. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to, “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
There is always something, either apparent or hidden, for which we can be thankful. We may not understand why God has allowed certain things to happen to us. But we need to trust His heart and His ultimate plans for the world (including us). We must trust that He will work some kind of good out of it. For that we can find reasons to be thankful!
Also, we forget to express thankfulness to our spouse. You may have heard the term of performing “Random Acts of Kindness.” This means finding ways to bless others by intentionally doing something kind for them. It’s random because it’s done spontaneously (and is unexpected).
It may be taking them out to lunch, or washing their car (without being asked), or tucking a little gift of money in a place where they will eventually find it with a note that says, “This is a little something for you to use. Enjoy!” Those are just a few examples of doing random acts of kindness for others. But what about expressing to our spouse “Random Words of Thanks?”
Some examples of “Random Words of Thanks” would be to:
• Thank them for getting up each morning to go to work. There are many spouses who decide to be lazy. They do not provide financially for their family so they don’t roll out of bed to go to work. If you have a spouse who does go to work look for different times and ways to express your thanks. This may surprise them, but tell them you appreciate their commitment in doing this. It’s nice to know someone notices things like this sometimes.
• Thank them for planning the meals, and shopping for the food. Thank them for all the work they put in for preparing what you eat each day. Even if you helped in doing part of this, the initiative they showed in making sure everything was done should be appreciated. Some might say, “Well, this is all part of being married. This is what is expected of my spouse!” The question is, “Why?” Where is it written in the marriage contract that they HAVE to do this?
It is an expectation —be it societal, cultural, or personal —it’s still an expectation. So why not express thanks from time-to-time that your spouse actually does it? Some spouses don’t and won’t do it.
• Thank them for being dependable and honorable. There are so many temptations presented in our world to act different than this. There are spouses who give in to the temptation to drink heavily, and/or take illegal drugs, and/or spend time in dishonorable places and situations.
If our spouse is dependable and honors the marriage commitment it would be nice to let them know you appreciate who they are. Thank them for how they make the choices to honor your marital partnership. Realize that you’re blessed to have a spouse who is a “Promise Keeper.” Now let them KNOW you realize it by thanking them.
• Thank them for the little things they do that may have gone unnoticed in the past. These are things like: changing a light bulb when it’s burned out, or filling the automobile with gasoline when it needs it. It includes reading to the children (especially when it gives you a break to have quiet time yourself). This includes cleaning, or sweeping, or painting a room, or gardening, or repairing something. Give thanks for purchasing gifts for the family, etc. — all without being asked to do so.
Those are just a few things for which you can thank them. But go ahead… think of others. And then express your thanks. The challenge is to express it. Make this a time of “Thanks-GIVING,” not “Thanks-BEING.” Being thankful is great. But sometimes we need to also verbally express it.
We’ve known of marriages where the spouse has left the other for someone else because they said they felt “unappreciated” or “taken for granted.” Eventually they found someone else who lavished their appreciation upon them or have made them feel needed and “special” again.
We’re not saying this is right for them to have done this. Because it isn’t. What we are saying is everyone wants to feel appreciated. And every marriage could use a little more tender loving care to make sure that each marital partner isn’t feeling neglected or taken for granted.
We didn’t take each other for granted before marriage, which helped us to fall in love with each other in the first place. So now that we’re married, we need to still make the effort to express our appreciation to each other. Our needs don’t go away just because we place a wedding ring on our fingers. They don’t go away because we sign a marriage contract. We need to be partners in ‘Thanks-GIVING” as well as “Thanks-BEING.”
Do you express a heart of thanksgiving with your spouse? If not, then NOW is the time to begin!
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, 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 your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)
Cindy and Steve Wright
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