Thank You, Honey {More Than Fine}

Guest Post by Jody McNatt, even the sparrowpicmonkey_image

have you thanked God today for your marriage?

24 years ago, when i was lovestruck and waltzing through wedding plans, i would have bet you my bottom dollar that i’d have no problem giving thanks every single day for my soon to be husband. of course i would.

and, of course i should.

except, often, days and weeks go by, when i don’t.

it’s not that i’m not thankful for him. i am! i just forget to give the thanks. in fact, i seem to think even, that somehow, my thankfulness is a given. like because we’ve been married for over two decades i don’t need to point that out to him. like because we’ve been married so long, he probably already knows how thankful i am. right?

ourwedding

wrong!

the truth is, after 23 years of marriage, i should know better: it’s not a given. it does actually need to be said. and said often. unexpressed gratitude isn’t gratitude at all.

“there is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed.  if it is unexpressed,  it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude. ~ robert brault

so if we forget to say thank you or if we forget to give thanks, we aren’t really living with a spirit of gratitude, but, instead, with a spirit of take it for granted-tude.

and that’s not the spouse we are called to be.

this month, as we prepare our hearts and homes for thanksgiving, my focus has been about searching for gifts and giving more thanks. and, there’s just no way i can let this month pass without stopping to pause here a few minutes and talk about thanksgiving in marriage. because i’m not sure there’s ever a time when it wouldn’t benefit a marriage to say the words, “thank you, honey.” sometimes we aren’t sure what to say or we’re too tired to say or we just plain old do a bad job of saying, but one of the most sure gifts we can offer our spouse is words of real gratitude.

i don’t mean you should lie or make something up. but dig a little deeper and find the gift that might be overlooked by many years of marriage or many layers of chaos in our communication.

sometimes we simply forget. sometimes we fail to look. maybe it has something to do with seeing the same guy or gal across the breakfast table every day for a ga-zillion years. maybe that’s it, but, sorry, that’s not an excuse for our failure to offer up thanks.

“feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~william arthur ward

it doesn’t have to be eloquent or well-rehearsed. just go ahead and stop for a minute and think … maybe even write down a few words, if that’s your style. what is it about your marriage which makes you thankful? what is it about your spouse which makes you thankful?

now, that’s great that we’ve figured this out … but now, make a point to tell them. text them. write them. whisper sweet words. or , do what i have to do somedays, and yell it across the kitchen over the din of five loud kids and two barking dogs. whatever it takes — do it. don’t make excuses, instead make amends. make your marriage better with words of appreciation.

try it. i promise, everyone will like it.

maybe your husband or wife is feeling a little like my guy was a few years back. about 10 years into my marriage with rick, it came to my realization that i wasn’t showing him the same gratitude i was so generously giving others. i was always careful to say thanks with strangers and acquaintances and especially with friends, but sometimes overlooked those same simple words with my husband. why? maybe i started to fall into the rut of believing that because he loved me and knew me, than he would of course just know deep inside that i was always thankful.

except that’s not how it works. not even in the most well-oiled and intimate marriages. thanksgiving is the key to unlocking continuous giving. and unconditional giving is what makes marriage work. more than anything, when we put the other person ahead of ourselves, it works. of course, it is especially sweet if both husband and wife have that same goal in mind. and, by the way, that’s exactly what Jesus tells us to do.

just like in our walk with Him, it’s a continual dying to self. a continual dying to our own wants and our own way. i know the world says differently. i’ve heard all that crazy jargon about how we have to love ourselves first. but guess what? that isn’t really working all that well, is it? with a divorce rate of over 55%, that whole “love yourself…take care of yourself…be true to yourself…” stuff isn’t quite cutting it. i mean, of course you should do those things, but Jesus is crystal clear:

“do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…” ~ philippians 2:3

call me old fashioned, but i think putting another ahead of ourselves and expressing our gratitude has a lot more to do with successful marriage than finding our soul mate or kindred spirit or someone who can make a mean omelet.

i know some of you are thinking, “but, jody, you don’t know about my marriage.” and you’re right, i don’t. i do know some of you have some pretty hard stuff in your marriage and i know some of you just have plain old, hard marriages. but, yes, i’m still writing to you. i am.  i realize the problems may be deep and the issues might be incredibly hard … i’m not saying this will fix everything. but i am encouraging you, YES, even you, to find words of thanksgiving. it’s what i’ve been saying all along this month. giving thanks in the hard places, helps. even in the hard parts of marriage.

this is not a post only for those with dreamy husbands and picture perfect wives, this is a post for all of us. the broken and the hurting. the forgetful and the tired.

my husband would tell you he loves when i take the time to really thank him for the big stuff and the little stuff. and he’s not the only one, i like it too. i am that classic mother and wife who just wants to be appreciated. i won’t lie, i do! i don’t like to go the extra mile for my family and not have someone notice. call me crazy, but if i go to a lot of work for a meal or run that inconvenient errand or do their last minute laundry, i just flat out like to hear the words, “thank you, honey.”

i don’t do these things to get glory or to hear the thanks, but y’all know, it’s just really, really nice  when that follows. for all of us.

even with our spouses and those we love dearly, they need to hear the words, “i’m thankful for you.” it’s not hard to say, but it’s hard to remember to say. and today, on this middle of the week wednesday, in the middle of the month of november, i want to encourage you to put thanksgiving in the middle of your marriage. let it be the praise which pulls you together. let it be the consideration which makes you commune better. let it be the gratitude which demonstrates the gift given.

we can do this.

repeat after me:  “thank you, honey!”

Lord Jesus, i want to have more thanksgiving in my heart for my marriage and for the man you’ve blessed me with. i know it’s your desire for me to give thanks and praise for both. would you ignite the spark of gratitude in me … each day. forgive me for the times i’ve taken this good gift for granted. give me eyes to hunt out the treasures of our union. be the center of it all; the third strand in our marriage which weaves us closer together and closer to you. a-men.

{grace words: thank you!}

gracewords4

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3 thoughts on “Thank You, Honey {More Than Fine}

  1. One thing we started in the last year as we were going to bed was to say, “thanks for everything you did today.” We say it in recognition of all the little things that each of us do that we may not notice. I love this night time daily expression of gratitude.

  2. A great reminder — my husband and I strive to do this each day, even amongst the chaos of caring for our two children. A good recommendation that goes along with this is a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman — great for even the strongest of marriages. This is one of the five languages of how one feels most loved.

I means so much to hear from you!

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