If I may, I’d like to talk about what it means to be Thankful in Marriage, and intentionally shifting the tide in that relationship, especially at this time of year.

    Let me start off with a Scripture I have posted here at my desk from Philippians 2:14 and it says, “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”   You may be curious why am I starting with that?   Because, The Holy Spirit has revealed to me, that I am the queen of complainers…and that’s the opposite of being thankful.  If you want to know all the things my husband Frank does wrong, I have that list.  I’ve stored up a jug full of resentfulness, anger, and being grumpy towards him as I focused on his shortcomings.   Sadly, it’s my first, knee-jerk reaction.  But God showed me that I needed to roll up my sleeves and work on changing it.  Is He speaking to you too?

    You see Frank is all about pleasing me.  It’s how he’s wired.  As I indulge my negative thinking, I give him the impression that I’m difficult to please, which negatively impacts our intimacy with one another.  When I’m complaining, I make him feel unappreciated, and he may in time stop trying.  Then when I see him appear not wanting to help or please me, we go into this negative loop where both of us feel unappreciated and unfulfilled.  Do you know what I mean?  It’s pretty awful!

    How do I break this cycle?  The best way to put an end to it (or to never even start for those just starting a relationship) is to begin to Express Gratitude.  Colossians 3:14-15 says, “Above all, clothe yourself with love, which binds us together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.”  Isn’t Scripture convicting!

 

 

How To Start With Gratitude and Experience Immediate Changes in your Relationship

 

 

    Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for about your husband each day

    for the next week.

    Ask yourself does he have a job?  Is he a good dad?  Does he make you laugh?

 

 

    Share with your husband three things you appreciate about him each day.  

 

 

    Then, write a letter of gratitude to your husband.  Include the following:

    What did he do?  Why did it matter to you?  What effort did he make?  

    Why is it important to express your gratitude?  What do you want him

    to know?        

You may even read it out loud to him.  Wow!

 

 

    When you communicate gratitude, you will be letting your man know that you appreciate who he is and what he does for you (big and small).  When you express gratitude, you send a message that you notice the things he does for you, and you appreciate that he’s the one doing them.

     This helped me shift my focus away from all the things I didn’t have, to what I did have.  My focus began to change to, “catching him being good” rather than on “not good enough”.  You know what?  I began to feel better about him, about us, and so did he.  My stored up feelings of resentment and unmet expectations began to be emptied and instead filled with the things that made me happy, grateful, and pleased.  Noticing what I had to be thankful for pointed me in the right spiritual direction and lifted my spirits.  I began to change myself, my attitude, and chose to give up trying to control Frank.  

    The simple, yet, oh-so-profound and powerful way to live was to adjust my perspective and look for what I was thankful for. I’ve short-circuited that negative loop with a shift in my focus from what’s not working to what is working and now a new cycle of giving, receiving, and appreciating one another is in place.

    This Thanksgiving I’m thankful.  I’ve decided my husband is now my Hero!  

Thank You God!  Gratitude is waking me up to realize I have an amazing husband.  I’m choosing to let my words of appreciation be something Frank can rely on.

    How about you?  Will you get out a pen and paper and get started on that letter?

    You’ll be grateful you did!

-Julie Koehn

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