Why A Heart Of Thanksgiving Is Important For A Marriage After God

Thankfulness is one of those we may not think about every day, at least until the season of Thanksgiving reminds us, but thankfulness impacts our lives and our marriages. We often forget the spiritual impact of Thanksgiving has in our lives. It is an important principle that God tells us is necessary. In this episode of Marriage After God we explore God’s Word on the matter of thanksgiving and we talk about why it’s important to be thankful in marriage.

Thankfulness is necessary for a strong marriage relationship. Aaron admits that he wasn’t thankful when his expectations were not being met, and I can honestly same the same. It can be difficult to have a heart of thankfulness when circumstances are not going as expected. We would agree in those first few years we weren’t very thankful for the gift of marriage. As a result, we mistreated each other and began to isolate ourselves. But we have learned that God desires us and calls us to be thankful in ALL circumstances! The benefits of being thankful are incredible and they magnify the name of God!

Being able to rejoice always is a testimony of God’s power in your life, whether circumstances are good or bad. Check out this episode on thankfulness!

WATCH

LISTEN

READ

-Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

-Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

-And today, we’re gonna talk about how a heart of thankfulness is necessary for a marriage after God.

-So today, we’re gonna talk about thankfulness in marriage, and we may even hit on why unthankfulness is, you know, damaging to marriage. But we’re excited about this episode, especially ’cause Thanksgiving’s right around the corner, and I think that, you know, thankfulness is usually on people’s mind. If not, it’s written somewhere on a napkin or some sort of decor for Thanksgiving, so.

-Yeah, but one of the reasons we wanna bring up this topic is especially with a corporate holiday, you know, federal holiday being Thanksgiving, sometimes it might lose its meaning. We might think, oh, of course, yeah, I should be thankful, I should be thankful, but we forget actually the spiritual impact that thankfulness has on our lives and actually the command that we have from the Lord to be thankful.

-Yeah.

-And so we just wanna talk about what thankfulness does in a marriage after God, and how it could benefit our ministry.

-And why it’s important to do it all year ’round, right?

-Yeah, not just one day a year when the food’s amazing. So that’s what we wanna talk about today, is thankfulness, and we’re gonna give some tips on the end, just how to have a mind and heart surrounded with thankfulness, and the Bible’s really clear on how thankfulness should be a part of our lives. It shouldn’t be just something that comes and goes, and it shouldn’t just be based on the circumstances, which we’ll see, but thankfulness should be an integral part of the Christian’s life. It should be something deep inside of us. And so I think it’ll be fun to discuss this. I have some questions for us to answer candidly about thankfulness in our own lives, because we’re never unthankful.

-Never.

-Yeah, our marriage is only ever full of thankfulness.

-We’re always walking in the spirit, so like.

-Yeah, perfectly.

-That flesh never gets to us. I mean, we’re just.

-No, of course we’re being facetious.

-We’re a perfect couple, really.

-No, we have to be reminded often to be thankful, to have hearts filled with thankfulness, and the fruit that comes from that is good, and the fruit that comes from unthankfulness is not so good.

-Yeah.

-It’s actually very destructive.

-Yeah.

-So, we’re gonna dig in. We have some scripture to talk about, and some questions to answer, and then some tips at the end, and I think it’s gonna be really good, so I hope you enjoy it.

-Okay, so we kind of broke this down into two sections, and so the first one is it’s necessary for a strong marriage relationship. So thankfulness is necessary in order to have a strong marriage. And the first question that we wanted to kind of ask each other is, how do you think that thankfulness might play a huge role in strengthening our relationship?

-Yeah, I was thinking about this based off of the scripture that we’re gonna talk about later, but thankfulness, I feel like it keeps us in a positive place, it keeps us moving forward. You know, I think about the times that we’re not thankful.

-Mmhmm.

-And what our relationship is like. If you go back to like, in the beginning of our marriage, I don’t know if I was necessary thankful for you, right? And so, I would neglect you. I would be frustrated with you. I would be bitter at our relationship and the things that weren’t going my way, ’cause I had these expectations, and since those expectations weren’t being fulfilled, I wasn’t thankful. It was like I got a bad gift, and I was like, oh, thanks for this, God. I remember all the years at Christmas, and I would, you know, as a little child, be expecting one thing.

-Like that bike. You should tell that story.

-Yeah, I know. So, one Christmas, I just wanted a bike. The only thing I wanted was a bike. I dropped hints everywhere. Disclaimer, my parents are awesome, right? So, I wanted a bike. And I remember getting to my grandma’s house. We were all there, everyone was there, and my grandma just starts dropping hints, ’cause she knows exactly what I’m getting. She’s like, oh, I know what you’re getting for Christmas. Oh, what is it? And she’s like, here’s your first hint. It’s red. And I said, red? I’m thinking, I’m like, oh, a red bike, yeah. And then she got me with the second hint. She’s like, the second hint is it starts with a B.

-Oh, no.

-And I’m like, what? I’m like, my parents actually got me the bike I wanted! And then I get the present, and it’s like this big. It’s like, it’s a small box.

-Oh, no.

-And I’m like, how does a, maybe it’s like a helmet. Maybe it’s the helmet for the bike, and they’re gonna trick me.

-Stay hopeful here.

-And I open it up, and it’s a red pair of boots.

-Oh, red boots.

-Cowboy boots, yeah.

-That’s awesome, though.

-Yeah, that’s the kind of thankfulness I’m talking about, that we had in our marriage, like, yeah, thanks, God, but it was more like a, I wasn’t actually thankful. Now, I did wear those boots all the time.

-But you didn’t get the bike that you wanted.

-But I didn’t get the bike I wanted, and I feel like that’s what, you know, thankfulness is being thankful for what you have. So I could have been thankful for you, and I would have seen you with eyes of thankfulness.

-Mmhmm.

-Whether or not I think you were what I should have gotten, or the things that we were going through were something great or terrible, I could have been thankful, and that probably would have changed a lot of things in the way I responded to you, in the way I walked with you.

-I can see that.

-Instead of drifting away from you, because it was like, I’m gonna put you in the closet, like those boots.

-He didn’t ever put me in the closet.

-I didn’t put her in the closet. But that’s the spiritual, you know.

-Isolation.

-Isolating myself.

-Being apart from one another, yeah.

-But like, how have you seen thankfulness play a huge role in strengthening our relationship?

-Well, on the positive side, ’cause I also, in the beginning of our marriage, I wouldn’t say that I was thankful for the gift of marriage. I was a little bit jolted in like, not receiving the thing that I wanted. It wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

-Yeah, this isn’t what I thought it was gonna be.

-Yeah, and the first few years were really rough, but I could see how, when we started to walk out with hearts of thankfulness, how it really affirmed our marriage. And so I just kinda wanna highlight the positive here, that it changed us, and it gave us eyes to see where, even in the really, really small stuff, how we can be grateful for what we have and who we’re with. I mean, I can look at our relationship now, and I’m so grateful for being with you. I can even be thankful for the things that we went through in the past, because I know that God used it for good, and I don’t know, I just think that it’s important to have a heart of thankfulness for each other, even in the hard times. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about that later as well when we get to the tips, but you’re really good at reminding me to be thankful.

-Now I am, I didn’t used to be.

-In the hard times, yeah.

-And I was actually, while you were talking, I was thinking about all those times in Africa when we were missionaries, and we would go to a family’s home, and when I say a home, it was like either a hut or just a smaller building, not what we would recognize here, and they would present us with the most, in our minds, wasn’t something amazing, food, but in their minds, it was the best they had, and I just remember recognizing, ’cause a lot of the missionaries that we were with, they were like, no, you’re gonna honor them. You’re gonna eat what they give you, and that’s hard for us.

-And you eat all of it, ’cause if you leave some, then you’re not using the value of what they gave.

-Yeah, you’re not appreciating that. You’re not showing them that you’re thankful. And I’m just thinking about the relationship between the gift-giver, the person giving me their food, in their world was the best that they had, and I’m thinking, like, oh, this is not as good as I, you know, my selfishness. Not being thankful is looking at the relationship in a way that like, oh, you didn’t give me enough, you didn’t give me what I want, and therefore, I’m not gonna be in that kind of connection with you and that kind of fellowship with you, right?

-Yeah.

-And I’m actually like, you know, harming the relationship with that person, because I’m not satisfied with what they’ve given me. Now, on the other hand, let’s say I’m hungry, and I have no food, and I crawl into their home, and they feed me, right? Whatever they give me, I’m thankful. The Bible tells us that, you know, when you’re hungry, even bitter things taste sweet, right? So the mentality, the heart is different toward that person. I’m like, man, thank you.

-You saved my life.

-You saved my life. It’s the same food, different perspective.

-Yeah.

-So when you think about it from that perspective, you know, of a perspective shift, it really comes from a place of pride. You know, I’m unthankful because I deserve something, I’m owed something. What you have given me isn’t worthy of me, right?

-It’s a very selfish way to look at it.

-Super selfish. And so, on the other hand, if I’m thankful, my perspective is like, what I have is better than what I deserve, is more than what I’m owed, is beyond what I could have asked for. It’s exactly where God wants us to be. It’s pride versus humbleness, humility. So that’s why I think it strengthens our relationship when we are thankful for each other, during the circumstances we’re going through with each other, for the things that God’s given our marriage.

-How can or has unthankfulness hurt our witness and ministry as a couple?

-Well, some of the stuff I was just talking about, of the pride.

-Mmhmm.

-I feel like, no, I don’t feel like. I know people can recognize pride and arrogance and cockiness, and I feel like being unthankful, that shows out. I actually, I’m telling it myself again.

-I like that, I like that.

-I realized I had a situation with this that’s caused me to kind of think about certain patterns I have and certain characteristics I have. A lot of our friends know that I love good food, and I barbecue my own meat, and I’m particular about how I make it, and whenever I go to restaurants, when we’re with friends, I get something, and I find myself critiquing what I’ve been given.

-Yeah, yeah.

-You know? I’m at this really nice restaurant, and I’m like, oh, you know, I would have done it this way, or oh, they didn’t do it the way.

-It’s supposed to be done.

-It’s supposed to be done. And so I have this particular way, and it’s just me kind of, the way I’ve justified it is just me walking in my passions with food, right? And a friend of mine said something to me, and I’m like, oh, that was interesting. And I don’t think they were trying to be rude to me or mean, but they said, you know, Aaron, you should be a restaurant critic, right? And I think they were sincere, but when I was on the way home, I remembered talking to you. I was like, I think I’m a jerk. You know, I’m sitting at this nice restaurant, I’m enjoying my friends, and there was literally nothing there to complain about, not a single thing, and my critiquing, you know, I’m using my air quotes, is just my unthankfulness. It’s me being prideful about my knowledge of things, or something not being good enough.

-Right.

-For me.

-Well, also, I would say for you, it was the value of, I’m paying for this. Like, let’s say it was a steak, and I could have done it better for cheaper at home.

-Right, which is thoughts I have, you know? And who knows if that waiter’s listening to me going back and talking to the chef, and like, I’m just one of those guys that complains about a really nice plate of food. You know? It was funny, it’s all this unthankfulness is around food. It’s not always food.

-It’s not always food.

-These are just good examples, I think. But like, you know, our life is supposed to be a light in this world, and like, what if I’m sitting there, it could be embarrassing for you, too. I don’t know if you’ve ever been embarrassed.

-No.

-I think you have stories in your own life of people acting like this on a bigger scale.

-Yeah, I was thinking though, like, I think we’ve shared this in another episode, but when it comes to our kids, especially around food, are we showing them an example of thankfulness when it comes to our food, or are they also going to be critiquing their food? I think you talked about them critiquing my food at home.

-Which is so dangerous. I’m like, that’s your mom. Don’t critique your mom’s food. You enjoy it.

-Yeah.

-But you’re right, that’s another witness to our children. We’re using food as an example a lot, but it goes for everything. Like, if we’re not thankful for our car, our home, you know, and that comes out in the way we take care of those things and treat those things and talk about those things.

-I have an example of you know, just how our ministry as a couple can negatively impact or have that negative impact on our ministry to others, and it’s more relational, but if you are doing something that I think you should have done different, or if I think you weren’t doing right, and we’re in front of a group of people or whatever.

-For you, or just in general?

-Just in general, or for me, it doesn’t matter, and I don’t respond with a heart of thankfulness, because I don’t actually see your action as being good. I see it as all the wrong ways that you’re doing it, right?

-Right.

-Because I don’t have that heart of thankfulness, it comes out in my response to you, and then all of the sudden, I feel that.

-Other people are watching you.

-Yeah, other people are watching me, and I start to feel embarrassed of my own actions and responses towards you, and I feel like our marriage is weakened and kind of broken.

-Right, the witness that our marriage has, our unity’s gone, ’cause it’s like, oh, why’d you do it that way? Can you just go redo it?

-Yeah.

-I don’t know if I’m making up that example, but, I think that’s a good point, how we treat each other, especially back when we weren’t thankful for each other. And even now, we still, you know, we go through days of just like, today’s hard, this happened, this happened, this happened, this happened.

-Yeah, feeling overwhelmed by it.

-Right? And we’re like, well, and we really forget all the good. But I guess the, you know, going into the verse we’re about to talk about, sometimes we can think, well, right now there isn’t good, so why should I be thankful? But that’s actually not what the Bible teaches us. God actually has a way for us to be in the good times and in the bad, and so, I’m gonna read Ephesians five. This right here gives us the picture of how God wants us to be thankful and why, and in the book of Ephesians, Ephesians is the relationship book. It’s about our relationship with the church, our relationship as a church, our relationship with God, and then our relationship with each other, and it’s all relationships and how we relate to each other as Christians, as the new creature that God’s made us. In Ephesians five, in verse 15, it says this, and this is talking, again, about the relationship between individuals in the church, as a global idea. It says, look carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for this is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and, right here is the keyword, for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Again, the context of this is how us as individuals in the body of Christ, in the church, the global church, are to act with each other, to relate to each other. You know, we submit to one another out of reverence. We greet each other with songs and hymns out of our hearts filled with thankfulness, and so what that means is when our hearts are filled with thankfulness, the sound that comes out of us, the tone that comes out of us, is melody to God. It’s melodic, it’s harmonious, it’s beautiful, it’s up-building, it lifts your spirits. That’s what that heart of thankfulness does. But the keyword, again, is for everything. Giving thanks always, and for everything, which is kind of hard to understand. Like, wait, we’re supposed to thank God for the hard things? Are we supposed to thank God for the difficulties we had in our marriage, in the beginning of our marriage?

-Yeah, and I would say in the midst of it, it was really hard to.

-I don’t think we were thankful.

-I don’t think we were thankful.

-I was not. I remember my prayers consisted of, why are you doing this to me, God?

-But looking back in hindsight, we have thanked him for that.

-Oh, yeah.

-So if we can encourage those listening, if you are in the middle of a hard spot, try practicing finding things that you can be thankful of, not finding things. I guess it’s be thankful for them.

-Be thankful for them. Say Lord, this is hard; thank you. And here’s the thing. We can always find something to be thankful for.

-I guess so, yeah.

-But God wants us to be thankful for everything.

-Yeah.

-For the hard things, for the easy things, for the painful things, for the joyful things, because God wants our Thanksgiving.

-Yeah.

-And you know what? Paul says this. He says, our current sufferings are not to be compared with the coming glory. So, even the hardest things we can go through, and if you think about Christians that are being persecuted all over the world, they should thank God for that, first of all, because they’re gonna get an extra blessing. That’s what the Bible says. But that’s so short of a time. It’s gonna be done with, and they’re gonna be in glory with God.

-Mmhmm.

-That’s what our lives are. So all of our little things, the little, painful things, the hard things we go through, the big things that we go through. God doesn’t just want us to thank him for the good things. He wants us to thank him for everything, which is awesome. I think I was just talking to you this morning encouraging you, just saying, you know, do you have breath in your lungs today? Did you have food to eat? Do you have energy in your body?

-I mean, you went pretty far. You were like, do your legs work? Do your hands work?

-And I was just letting her know, letting you know, that we have so much stuff to thank God for, just in the fact that we’re, the people listening right now are sitting there, breathing, listening. They have life in them, and God says, I want you to use your life for me, and I want you to be thankful for that life and all the things that happen within that life.

-I think a big part of being able to thank God for everything, for all of it, good and bad, it shows your amount of trust in him.

-Yeah.

-Because when you can say, God, thank you for this, even though it’s really hard, you’re trusting that he’s either gonna walk you through it, you’re trusting that his timing is best and that that hard time will end when he sees fit, or you’re gonna trust that he’s gonna use that hard stuff for something good later, right?

-Well, yeah.

-I feel like trust is such a big part of it.

-Being unthankful for it, like, God, why are you doing this to me, which is my heart, is presumptuous, to think, like, I know better.

-Right.

-God, you’re doing it wrong. This thing I’m going through, I don’t deserve it, it’s not right, you’re unjust. That’s what I’m saying if I’m unthankful to God. And when we put it in that context, ’cause while you were talking, I was thinking. I was like, yeah, actually, unthankfulness is telling God we know better.

-Yeah.

-And the story I think of is Job.

-Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

-Which is one of the oldest manuscripts known in the Bible. It’s the oldest one. It’s not chronologically the oldest, but it is the oldest written manuscript. And it’s a story of a man who goes through the most incredible suffering, and it almost looks like he doesn’t even deserve any of it, right? And he’s telling the Lord, like, I’m righteous, I’m just. God, I don’t deserve any of this. And by the very end, what does God tell him? Where were you when I set the foundations of the earth and I told the water where to stop? Where were you when I created everything, right? And he’s essentially telling Job, he’s like, he’s like, Job, you don’t get to question me. And you know what, it doesn’t tell us why, but God blessed him in the end. Doesn’t mean he deserved it. Just God chose to bless him. That’s what God can do, ’cause he’s God, right?

-Yeah.

-So, that’s actually a pretty scary thing to think about, that when we’re unthankful for even the little hard things, the big hard things, we’re telling God we know better, and that’s, again, a prideful heart against God, but I’d rather be, no matter how hard it is, in a spot of being held by God, like God, I trust you, like you said. That was a good word.

-Yeah, that’s good. I wanna also read I Thessalonians 5:16-18, ’cause I think it kind of affirms everything that you’re saying right now.

-Yeah, this is like the other half of how we’re supposed to be thankful.

-Yeah, so, it says, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. And I think so many people are out there and they think to themselves, I just wanna know God’s will for me. I just wanna know what he wants for me.

-It’s right here, boom.

-It’s right here.

-This is God’s will for you.

-He wants you to rejoice always, and that reminds me of the verse that you were just reading about of, you know, having psalms and hymns. You told me one time, I think it was you, about how you know that someone’s joyful when they’re singing?

-I said that at church on Sunday.

-Oh, yeah. So you know that someone’s joyful when they’re walking around the house humming or singing, and their spirit’s just light, and you feel their tone. You can hear it.

-Yeah.

-So I think being able to rejoice always is a testimony of God’s power in your life. Whether the circumstances around you are good or bad, if you’re able to rejoice, you’re saying, hey, none of this stuff matters, because I know who loves me, and you know, part of our ministry as A Marriage after God, our ministry as Christians in this world, is to be a light to others, and how are we supposed to reflect him and bear his image? It’s to be able to rejoice in all things.

-Which is a perfect transition into the second part of why it’s necessary to have a heart of thankfulness, is because it’s for a marriage to glorify and magnify God. Thankfulness, in our hearts, does that very thing, and we have some scriptures to back that up, if we haven’t already proven it, just by some of the scriptures we’ve already read. But like you said, the magnification, the glory, there’s nothing more powerful than meeting someone who’s going through extreme suffering, and they have thankfulness in their heart, and they have joy, and it doesn’t mean they’re not in pain, doesn’t mean they’re masking it or hiding it. They just truly know who their Savior is, who their Father is, and who’s gonna raise them up on the last day. They know who’s gonna hold them when they get to heaven. They know where their life is held, and there’s something powerful. You say, wow, how could you go through so much and still thank God, and still have joy in your heart? And I think that, I don’t think that does magnify God. It shows how good God is, and that’s where, if we’re a marriage that’s just bitter and angry.

-Or operating out of pride all the time.

-Yeah, we’re contentious, and like, any time, man, I don’t know if you’ve ever known someone that just, almost everything that comes out of their mouth is negative. Yeah, it’d be great if the car didn’t always, you know, have that little tick in the engine. Oh, yeah, what a great day. Too bad it’s gonna rain. Like, just everything they say is like, what’s the word, Debbie Downer?

-Yeah, yeah.

-I feel bad for the person that they named that after, but. But that’s not a good witness. What does that magnify? Like, that doesn’t magnify God. You know, it magnifies your own self-loathing, your own view of the world, being so dreary and down. And again, would you think it could be easy to fake this? Like, ’cause that’s not magnifying God, when we’re faking that we’re joyful, and we’ve got a mask on, but yet, we’re hurting and broke and angry inside.

-No, ’cause it goes back to you always say, like, how you’re living your life, can you tell someone else to live that way? You’re always encouraging other men and even me to be aware.

-Be an example.

-Of how you are walking, and yeah, I don’t think that you can say, follow my example or do what I’m doing if what I’m doing is smiling on the outside in the world and then running home to cry about it. You’re not gonna have the authority in your life to say.

-It’s hypocritical.

-This actually works, or God is actually with me, yeah.

-Yeah, and I think you’re right. I think the example we need to set is that we’re at home and outside the home the same. You know, in private and in public, we’re the same. That’s called integrity. It’s the opposite of hypocrisy, where I’m one way in front of someone and another way in front of another person.

-And I think people can sniff it out. I think people know, even if they don’t.

-If you’re around someone long enough.

-Well, if they’re not identifying it verbally, they feel it. Like, you can feel when someone has an ungrateful heart.

-Yeah, and it’s not a pretty thing. I’ve had it. There’s times that I get tempted to walk in ungratefulness, and then I have to remind myself, you know what, things are good, God’s good. He’s given me way more than I ever deserve, and that’ll help when we get some of these tips at the end of how we can have hearts of thankfulness. But yeah, the second part of just magnifying God, the reason we have hearts of thankfulness is to magnify and glorify God.

-I wanna read a verse. It’s Psalm 69:30, and it says, I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. And so I just wanna highlight two things here. One, I will magnify him with thanksgiving, that’s an action. Like, going to God and saying, thank you for, thank you for being you, thank you for creating me, just thanking him, thank you for my spouse, thank you for my marriage and my family, and then the other one is, I will praise the name of God with a song. That’s also an action, and I think it’s really important for us to be aware and to know the types of music that, you know, we’re putting on or listening to.

-Filling ourselves with.

-Filling ourselves with, and, you know, I’m not saying you can’t listen to other things, but make sure that you are spending time praising God with a song, whether that’s putting it on the radio or singing it out of a book or, you know, singing songs with your kids. I’ll admit this. I make up songs. I just randomly sing them, whether I’m in the shower or walking around the house.

-I do, too. Are we a make up song family?

-I guess so. They don’t always make sense, but I’ll just like, instead of praying out loud, I’ll sing it, or I don’t know. I think that’s kind of weird, but.

-I made up one last night with our friends. It was like, thank you God for friends and food and food and friends.

-I don’t know.

-It was kind of silly.

-I do it silly, but I like it. I think it’s fun, and I feel like I’m fulfilling this, when it says I will praise the name of God with a song.

-Yeah, and so going back to the magnify with him, magnify him with thanksgiving, I’m thinking about the first questions we were asking ourselves about the witness we have. There’s another scripture that tells us to be ready to give an answer when someone asks us about the hope we have. And the first thing I thought of when I heard this was, oh, one of the best answers you can give is thanking God. Like, why do you have so much hope? How do you trust God so much? ‘Cause I thank him. He’s a good God. He gave me salvation in his Son Jesus. He’s freed me from sin and death. He’s empowered me to walk in purity. Like, all of the things that God has done for us, we can thank him for, and recognizing his goodness. So, magnifying him, so when someone asks, you be like, you know what? Thank God.

-So on the flip side to this, a person that’s unthankful won’t even ever get that question.

-That’s a good point, ’cause you’re not gonna go up to someone and be like, hey, you just seem so down. What’s your trick?

-How can I get some of that?

-How can I get some of that? Every time we’re somewhere, you’re just complaining about everything. I want some of that. They won’t be asked.

-That’s a good point.

-Yeah, will never get asked, actually. People get avoided that are like that.

-Yeah.

-That are always down.

-So don’t be them.

-Like, I saw this meme. I follow these nutritionists and strength training experts on Instagram, and there was this post he did. He said 10 things to stop doing right now, and the number one thing was stop hanging around negative people. So, like everyone, all of these positivity teachers and all these people that help people better their lives, they all say like, don’t hang with negative people. So they actually got that from the Bible. It says bad company corrupts good morals. You know, we shouldn’t be hanging out with negative people.

-‘Cause then we’ll tend to have those tendencies.

-Yeah, and if you know someone that’s negative, you should go out of your way to always be encouraging, and be like, you know what, I think that was a negative thought that you just, I don’t think you’re thinking right. God’s good.

-Yeah.

-Look at how he’s blessed you, and remind that person, ’cause what will happen is either they’ll change or they’ll stop hanging out with me, ’cause you’re always encouraging them to see the brighter side of things.

-So what happens if that’s your spouse? What if you guys are opposite there?

-Oh, well don’t stop hanging out with your spouse. Do the other one.

-Pray for them.

-Pray for them, and constantly encourage them.

-Okay, I just wanted to.

-Yeah, constantly encourage them. But like, you know what, God’s still good. I’m sorry you’re going through that, but God’s good. He’s got us. Yeah, don’t not hang out with your spouse. Thank you for highlighting that point.

-Okay, so I think you were gonna read Psalms 50:23.

-Yes, Psalms 50:23 says this: The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God, ooh. So it’s interesting that it ties thanksgiving as a sacrifice, like it’s something that you’re giving to God, and you know what’s funny, is, it’s not funny, it just lines up with scripture. In the Passover meal, one of the cups that they drink filled with wine is the cup of thanksgiving, right? And so, and that was actually one of the Old Testament sacrifices, was a thanks offering, right? And we hear that at church sometimes, let’s give a thanks offering, you know, but what it’s saying is it’s a sacrifice of thanks, and I feel like that ties so much when we think about being thankful for all things, almost like when we’re thankful for the hard things, the suffering, we’re actually saying, I’m gonna give this as a sacrifice to you, Lord. I’m gonna thank you anyway.

-That’s really beautiful.

-You know, I’m gonna offer up my thanksgiving, even amidst the suffering. Thank you, Lord. And there’s something immensely powerful in thanking God. It changes us. It transforms us. It gives us his perspective on life, and it tells him, God, we are lowly, and you are high.

-I also feel like it removes the power of the circumstances, ’cause I feel like so often, we can give power to our circumstances, and I don’t know about anyone else listening, but for me, being a mom who works, but is also at home a lot and can get overwhelmed by just house management stuff, I feel like I can easily let my circumstances have power in my life to overwhelm me.

-And be controlled by them versus controlling yourself in them.

-Exactly.

-Yeah, that’s a good point, because the thanksgiving stops the downward spiral.

-Yeah.

-Like, oh, you know, Lord? I’m just gonna stop right now and thank you.

-And well, it helps you, or it helps me, recognize who’s got the power.

-Yeah, it’s not us.

-It’s God.

-It’s God, and he’s got the power to change our circumstances, and you know what, even when he allows us to go through hard things, he’s still a good God.

-And we’re gonna trust him.

-And we’re gonna trust him. I loved what you said about that. Thanksgiving is trusting him. And so, where’s your trust? Is it in yourself? Do you believe that you know better than God, or is he the one that knows better, and you trust him in it? Man, that’s powerful. So I feel like we actually hit some of these tips already.

-That’s okay. I think that we should go over them.

-But we’ll give them the tips now.

-Okay, so we have five tips to give you guys, and these are just practical ways of kind of living out your day to day with a heart of thankfulness, and then one little bonus, so.

-Yeah. What’s the first one?

-So the first one is say it out loud. Say it out loud that you’re thankful.

-So when I bring you a towel, you tell me thank you, or.

-Yeah, it could be in the very simple things, especially in your marriage. Make sure your spouse knows that you’re thankful for them. You’re thankful for the ways that they do things, even if they’re different than the way that you think they should be done.

-That was a tongue twister, but yes.

-I know.

-I get what you’re saying. Being thankful when.

-I’m talking to myself. I’m preaching to the choir.

-Yeah, just saying thank you, and not just making it a passive like, oh, thank you, but like, wow, I really appreciate what you did. I really appreciate the way you did that like we do with our kids at the dinner table. I’ve been practicing, every single time I sit down, have you guys thanked mom for this meal?

-Oh, yeah, thanks, mom.

-Have you thanked dad for this meal? And they’re like, thank you, thank you. Like, we’re just trying to show ’em, when you’re thankful, it shows that you appreciate what you have.

-Yeah, or how about when the waitress sets down the food at the table. Thank you, or when we’re.

-No, they don’t need to be thanked, right? ‘Cause that’s their job?

-I guess you could walk back to the kitchen.

-No, that again goes back to our witness.

-I was like, I guess you can go thank the chef, but.

-No, absolutely. They’re doing a job, and that’s, again, a part of our witness, is going out of our way. Speaking of waitresses, one thing I’ve been practicing is learning their name, and that also lets them know that they’re appreciated and that they’re thought of and that they’re a person.

-Yeah.

-And they’re doing a job, and we can thank them for the job they’re doing.

-I was also gonna say like, when you’re at fellowship or around friends and someone serves you or gives you something, make sure that they know that you’re thankful. But don’t just say it out of lip service. When we say say it out loud, it’s an overflow of your heart, and you’re verbalizing what is actually in your heart. And if you’re someone who’s not thankful for even the little things, maybe you can start practicing this, just saying it out loud. So actually, when I looked down at the tip, I thought it said we sing it out loud.

-Oh, you can sing it out loud.

-And I feel like that’s a good little bonus, is that you were talking about music, is having hymns and songs and praises, you know, playing in the house, or just singing our thankfulness.

-Thank you.

-That’s a good one. The kids like to sing, you know? So it’s a good way to help them practice praising God.

-Okay.

-And thanking him.

-Okay, so number two is we remind each other to be thankful, and this goes back to when I said you’re really good at this. Reminding your spouse, no matter what’s going on, no matter how easy or hard your circumstances are, you’re reminding each other, hey, let’s be thankful today. Hey, you can do this. Let’s be thankful for what we’ve got going on. Let’s remember who our Lord is.

-Yep, so when I thought about this tip, most of the Old Testament is a story of remembering and forgetting. If you just read the whole Old Testament in context, it’s remembering and forgetting. Remembering what God did, forgetting what God did. This is how the people of Israel’s relationship with God went throughout the generations before Jesus came. And you know, we fall into those patterns sometimes, and God, right after he saved the Israelites in a powerful way, you know, the 10 plagues, going through the Red Sea, and they’re into the wilderness, and they’re going, and they just immediately start complaining. Lord, it was better off back then. Did you lead us out here to die? No, of course he didn’t. He just saved them in a miraculous way. He can’t take care of them? He did this amazing thing, and they just forgot. And so God, he warns ’em. He says, don’t forget where you’ve come from.

-Yeah, that’s good.

-And, you know, we forget. We can sit here in our home, in our nice home, and forget that we have a home, and think, oh, it’s just so messy, and how, you know, I can’t believe I didn’t do this, or I forgot to go set up the thing, and all the things, we allow that to, woe is me, right?

-Yeah.

-And we both get into this on the various aspects of how we manage our home or our vehicles or our bank accounts or whatever it is, and we forget that God gave it all to us.

-Yeah.

-That God’s the one that’s put it in our trust, and that God’s the one that can take it away, as Job tells us, you know? He says God giveth and God taketh away, and we forget that actually, God has that authority in our life. So, practicing what God told the Israelites to practice and what he gave them tons of things to do, all the ceremonies, all of the festivals, all the new moon feasts. All of those things were to remember what God did. It’s why we take communion. Jesus said do this in remembrance of me and what I did on the cross, ’cause how often do we forget about our salvation? You know, if everything was taken away, babe, would you still have something to be thankful for?

-Absolutely.

-What?

-Salvation.

-Yeah, that we get to be with our Father in heaven forever.

-Yeah.

-So, that’s that tip of just practicing remembrance. And so, when your spouse is going through a season or a time of like, they’re down, they’re unthankful, they’re struggling with things in their life, the other spouse can gentle remind them, be like, hey, just remember. Remember what God’s done for us. Remember, we don’t deserve any of this.

-Yeah, and you don’t have to be going through a hard time to remember. I think, I would suggest on your next date night, you know, have a conversation about where God has taken your relationship from and where he’s brought you to.

-It’s a thankfulness date.

-Yeah, yeah, have a thankfulness date. That sounds awesome.

-And then start off with thanking God that you’re on the date. That means you probably got a babysitter.

-Yeah, that’s great. So, yeah, I think it’s important just to remind each other. So this is number three, and it says thank God through prayer. So when you’re praying, you guys should be praying with your spouse and be praying at all times throughout the day. Remember, pray without ceasing. But be thankful in your prayers, so telling God why you’re thankful and lifting those things up.

-Yeah, this is actually, so, for all the people that wonder how to pray without ceasing, ’cause people always bring that up, like, let’s be in prayer without ceasing. You know, Matt, actually, our pastor, brought this up on Sunday. It means to be in constant communion with the Lord, and one way you can do that is thank God throughout the day for everything. Ah, thank you Lord for this car. Thank you, Lord, for this food that I’m having at lunch. Thank you for my partner that I’m working with that’s helping me out. Thank you, Lord, for that friend that just gave me a smile as they walk by. Thank you, like, and just thanking God. That’s a perfect way to commune with God throughout the day.

-Yeah, I think that this is how we taught our kids how to pray, too. Like, one of the biggest ways that we taught our kids how to pray is.

-Thanking God.

-Asking them, well, what are you thankful for? Oh, let’s tell God that, you know?

-That’s a good point.

-Yeah.

-Yeah, so, in prayer, thanking God through our prayer life, just thanking him directly. Thank you, Lord. So what’s number four?

-So number four is make it a conversation in your home. Make it a conversation with your spouse. Make it a conversation with your kids, and we do something. We go around the table at dinner time, and we say, okay, what are you guys’ highlights? So think about your whole day and what stood out to you, and we’d like to talk about it.

-Yeah, what was something that you really enjoyed, and usually it’s a kind of thanksgiving. It’s like, oh, I really enjoyed that one thing, or that awesome thing. Sometimes our kids say everything, the whole day.

-Or they mention something from three months ago.

-I feel like they’re just trying to get out of having to think of something, but that’s kind of cool, that they say the whole day.

-But I think that it is important to make it a conversation where you constantly talking about things that you’re thankful for, because it goes back to that remembrance of like, we have to remind our flesh to be thankful, and so we’re constantly talking about it.

-So, number five is practice putting scriptures about thankfulness on the walls.

-Oh, that’s great.

-Like we have our chalkboard. You know, do a study on thankfulness. As a family, as a husband, as a wife, open up and find all the words and the stories about being thankful and what the Bible says, and meditate on those. Remember them. Put them on Post-It notes all over your home. Put them on your chalkboards if you have those, and just let the word of God translate and change our minds and the way we think, you know, about complaining versus thankfulness, which leads us into our bonus one.

-The bonus one, which is.

-Kinda the opposite.

-It’s kinda like, yeah, here’s the opposite. It’s don’t complain. So if you guys wanna tackle, you know, ungratefulness and unthankfulness in your heart, you gotta stop complaining.

-Yeah, so, as a family, when you hear complaining, maybe make a rule, like no complaining. We’re not allowed to complain about something. Hey, that sounded like a complaint. Be careful how you bring it up, but.

-Like with the kids sometimes I’ll say we’re the Smiths, and we do hard things, or we’re the Smiths and we don’t complain.

-We’re the Smiths. We’re not bored.

-We’re not bored.

-We can go find something to do. Yeah, so making a habit of not complaining, because complaint is, again, it’s saying that we’re not getting something we’re owed, we’re not getting something we deserve.

-And then you’re just training your flesh to be okay with that.

-Yeah, and ’cause that’s what the flesh wants. The fleshly response is to complain, like the Israelites did. The spiritual response is to be thankful. And so, that is our little discussion on thankfulness and how it can invigorate our marriages, how it can empower our marriages, and how it can be used by God as a ministry in the world when people see our thankful hearts. And so we just hope that you guys would discuss this as a family and as a marriage and walk in thankfulness. Let’s stop complaining. Let’s be men and women of God who thank God for everything and in everything. We love you guys. We thank you for joining us this week, and we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

marriageafterg