2. Speak Joy and Thankfulness

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…Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:12-17

These passages are generally considered “church” passages. The stuff we do “in the body.” But “church” is meant to come home with us! So, if in our marriage we could practice all that good church stuff, our marriages would reflect the love of Christ the way He meant for them to! And what a witness that would be!

If we could speak to one another in ways that poured out compassion, humility, gentleness and patience, forgiveness, and thankfulness, it would change our marriages, families, testimonies, our ultimately our churches.

While I had sought to speak with compassion and humility, learning to speak my gratitude out loud, with regularity was a meaningful skill to practice. Our words could be like songs of gratitude around our homes and marriages, but getting there takes a lot of intentionality!

With all the many to-do list items, coupled with the short moments in a busy schedule, it is easy for me to zip through life adding to my husband’s list of responsibilities without expressing gratitude for all he is and all he has done. But by making a concerted effort to express gratitude to him and to God for him, it blesses our relationship. I regularly tell the members of our household how dearly I thank God for them and also say it out loud in mealtime and bedtime prayers.

Some of us rock the whole confidence meter aspect of life, but many of us, if we could peel back all the surface things, we really need to know that we matter to someone. Many of us feel rather replaceable, not that special, not all that “I have a high calling in my life” stuff. If our marriages could be havens of safety that hum the melodies of God’s truth about who we are and what we are meant for over our spouses that would be a most precious gift.

Expressing gratitude to our spouse and also publicly to God for our spouse (and our kids) is a scriptural and powerful way to “sing” that truth over the heart-space that needs to know “I matter and have a purpose.”

Gratitude and grumbling don’t grow in the same heart-space. We must choose what we want to cultivate in our marriages and families. Scripture warns us repeatedly about complaining against one another. This is no different in our marriages than the rest of church life and might be one of the most vital areas to practice this principle.

Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. James 4:11

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. James 5:9

So choose to speak joy and gratitude to, over, and about your spouse and cultivate the blessings that come with the grace of gratitude.

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