Cultivating Gratitude in your Marriage
Let’s see if you can relate…
Husband comes home from work and begins to talk about his day. You listen, somewhat empathetically, while internally you are rolling your eyes and thinking about the challenges your day held.
Or maybe, your wife starts going on and on about all she’s had to deal with and get done that day, and all you’re thinking is, “Seriously? You’ve got nothing on me.”
One day, I walked in the door and Casey had just cleaned up the kitchen – even swept the floor. He was pleased with himself…I could tell by the goofy grin he was wearing.
Being the awesome wife that I am…I said nothing. (I know, I know…I’m horrible.) A few minutes pass and he says, “What? No ‘thank you’ for sweeping the floor?”
To which I replied, “Do you know how many times a week I sweep this floor without a ‘thank you’ or anyone even noticing?!” (Yes, I did. It was a real proud moment.)
Incase you were wondering…being slapped in the face with your own selfish nature and immaturity doesn’t feel great. Can you relate?
So, what do we do?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I think we like to over complicate things. Sometimes, the solution can be simple and straightforward.
Just. Give. Thanks. Give thanks in everything.
Do we really want to be in a competition for who had the busiest work day or who did the most with the kids or who picked up the slack around the house?
Really? It sounds so trivial, but it’s what we do to each other.
He says, “I changed the light bulb for you.” If caught in the wrong moment, instead of a “Thank you” we list off “yeah, well I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher three times, and I did six loads of laundry, and I drove our kids around everywhere, and I managed to still make supper…”
What starts out as an innocent statement turns into a battle for who’s going to win the trophy. Sometimes, it’s the seemingly small things that can so easily drive a wedge between us.
So often, in an effort to combat our own feelings of being unappreciated, we depreciate what our spouse brings to the table.
How’s that workin’ for us?
Perhaps if we sowed thankfulness, we might reap thankfulness. If we offered appreciation, we would reap appreciation.
If we cultivated an attitude of thankfulness in our marriage, what would happen? If we could just let those two little words, “thank you,” find their way from our lips to our spouses’ ear, what would happen?
I can tell you, from experience, there will be a shift in your heart. A thankful heart prepares the way for the Lord. When you excercise thanksgiving you will be changed, and your spouse will be blessed.
The more we practice thankfulness the easier it will become.
Husband changed the light bulb in that hard to reach place – “Thank You.” Doesn’t matter what you’ve done that day; doesn’t even matter if you’d been asking him to do it for three weeks, and he finally got around to it. “Thank you.” That’s it.
When we take our focus off of fighting for and winning the “appreciation trophy”, we are more able to walk in the position of freely giving it.
Obviously we won’t get it right all the time. Otherwise, when I saw that clean kitchen – swept floor included – and that goofy grin on my husband’s face…”thank” and “you” would have been the two words that found their way out of my mouth.
It was easy enough (well, it wasn’t too terribly bad…Okay. Fine. It was hard, but I did it) to say, “You know what, it doesn’t matter if I never hear another word of gratitude for what I do around here…I am thankful for the help. Thanks for cleaning up the kitchen and sweeping today.”
Just start. Even if you feel like the starting point is muttering the words. Do it. You mutter the words “thank you” until you find them easy to say.
Find something to say “thank you” for today.
Don’t fight for that trophy anymore – instead, become the one handing out trophies left and right!
Let your thankful heart bless, and maybe surprise, your spouse today.