The primary calling of all Christians is to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds. (Matthew 22:37-38) Part of loving someone is showing gratitude. Undoubtedly, we owe thanks to God. But there is a reason that when Jesus was asked for the greatest commandment, he also gave the second greatest commandment, love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39) Our love for God is fully lived out and manifested in how we love our fellow humans who are the image bearers of God, and you won’t find a closer, more intimate neighbor than your spouse. So, just as part of loving God is expressing gratitude, part of loving your spouse is expressing gratitude—not out of obligation, but out of a deep love for your mate and the way he/she completes you, enhances your life, and draws you closer to God.
Sometimes it is harder to show gratitude to your mate than it is to show gratitude to God. Why? Well, at least in a physical sense, God doesn’t get in your face, offend you, or otherwise give you grief. God hasn’t hurt you in the past. God doesn’t have human flaws that you are so keenly aware of each and every day. Your mate does.
Yet, when you show gratitude to your spouse (who is just as broken and imperfect as you are) you demonstrate God’s love, grace, mercy, and goodness at work in immeasurably powerful ways. In an intimate marriage relationship, gratitude creates, conveys, and maintains an environment of value, trust, and partnership.
So, with that in mind, how attentive are you to showing your love for your mate through gratitude? When was the last time you spoke words of appreciation to your wife or husband? Do you remember to say “thank you” for the simple daily things that your mate does for you to make life better—things like preparing meals, laundry, filling the car up with gas, being a great mom or dad for the kids. While those things might be your spouse’s “job,” remember how much he/she blesses your life by doing them. Do you thank your spouse for special things he/she does for you, or when he/she gives you that extra attention or goes the extra mile?
As we move though this season of giving and thanksgiving, keep a journal of things you spouse does for which you are thankful; everything from regular tasks to special efforts he/she makes for your sake. If you pay attention, it shouldn’t take too long to fill up page after page of things you mate does for you. After you fill it up, take the journal and give it to your mate as a gift; a visible reminder to both of you of your gratitude for the many things he/she does for you. Let your gratitude be a manifestation of your love. If you start your journal now, you should have a really nice surprise for your wife or husband by Christmas.