Expression of Thankfulness
Charles Schwab said “The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” I (Shelly) believe that most of us are thankful for our spouses. What I would wonder is how many of us tell our spouse the thoughts of thankfulness we have towards them. Psalms 100:4 says to be thankful and say so! Have the heart to appreciate and a mouth to express it. In all honesty, words of affirmation do not come naturally to me. Through the magnificent work of the Holy Spirit, I learned I could not use this as an excuse. I needed to choose to express my gratitude for so many reasons, which we will get into in a bit, but mostly because it is what God tells us to do in His Word.
Knowing that God has purpose in all He does and that blessings come through obedience, I knew that I must put this into practice. I had the blessing of staying home when my kids were little and was truly grateful for that opportunity. The first words of affirmation that I began to consistently speak into Gray’s life were, “Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family and allowing me to stay home during this season”. The words did not just spill out of my mouth, but I knew they held truth and needed to be said, so out of obedience I began to speak them. Can I tell you that just by speaking these words, the atmosphere shifted in a beautiful way. By saying thank you, Gray began to feel valued and appreciated.
Healing through Thankfulness
Most of us know Proverbs 18:21, that we have the power of life and death in our tongues. But how many of us truly believe it? Our lives would change for the better if we did. We have been lied to about the power words have since we were children. The nursery rhyme we learned as a child that sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never harm us, is a lie. Words do harm and once they are released we cannot retract them, no matter how hard we try.
Psalms 141:3 says “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips.” This is written on a 3x5 card and sits in the dash of my car. I read it every time I get into the van. I have now memorized it and pray it over myself constantly, but especially when I become frustrated or angry.
Understanding the power we have to either bring life or bring death into a situation or on a person is a huge responsibility. I hope this sounds weighty, because it is. Speaking life in and over our spouse brings life. It may bring more life into a weakened area, or it may bring life to dead places. Tell your husband that he is superman enough times and he will believe it! Same goes for a wife. Make sure she knows how beautiful and loved she is. Proverbs 16:24 states “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Blessing for Insult
As taught in the Two Becoming One curriculum, we can stop the insult cycle we may find ourselves in by simply blessing the one we are in the cycle with. I say simply, but it is not easy. In the flesh, we would naturally hurl back insults wanting to hurt the one that is hurting us. With the Holy Spirit's empowerment, we can (sometimes through gritted teeth) return an insult with a blessing and break the cycle, injecting life into the situation.
When Gray and I first learned this concept and I felt the tension rising between us, I looked him right in the eye and said “well, bless your little soul”. Now, I am not sure I truly meant those words, but I can say both of us began to laugh and the atmosphere shifted. We were not inclined to continue the downward spiral with our conversation. In Romans 14:19 Christ tells us to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” I Peter 3:9 says “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
In the verse above, God asks us to do something uncomfortable and even difficult, but promises us a blessing in return. This instruction is given out of His love and desire for us to be healthy and in healthy relationships. We do not have the power within ourselves to always speak words of life. But with the Holy Spirit's help we can begin to find ways to express our thankfulness for our spouse.
As we have entered November, what a great time to start incorporating this into your relationship. Thankfulness. I challenge you to stop what you are doing and find your spouse and let them know what a gift they are to you. That you are thankful you have someone who has your back, someone to love, laugh and cry with and someone to just be with. Think back to your newlywed stage and remember those things that drew you towards one another. In remembering, you will be blessed. Then remind your spouse and they will be blessed. I Thessalonians 5:11.
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