Want Joy? … then be Thankful!

Phil and Gayle

I was married in 1975 during Thanksgiving weekend. That event has brought immeasurable joy to my life. I appreciate that our anniversary often coincides with my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving. I attribute much of the blessing of our 38 years of marriage to the fact that we are thankful for each other – warts and all!

From the moment Phil and I made the committment “for better or for worse” the better has greatly outweighed the worse. I am thankful to be married to a man who loves me even though he has seen me at my worst, and the worst is not pretty.

Is our marriage perfect?

No.

Do I always FEEL love toward Phil, or FEEL loved by him?

No.

As in all human relationships, there are many variables.
* feelings
* health issues
* stress from family, work, friends
* broken promises
* unfulfilled expectations
At any point these variables could have resulted in a severed relationship. Phil and I are sinful, broken people saved from our selfness by the grace of God.

So if I feel gratitude for my marriage and the years we have shared together, to whom am I thankful?

I am thankful to God.

People who meet us as a couple for the first time have often asked “How did you two end up together?”
We could be the poster couple for “Opposites Attract”. It is quite obvious to those who know us that our relationship is the result of God’s presence in our lives and therefore our marriage.

We know other couples who started out committed to God and each other and yet their marriages have not survived. I don’t know the explanation of why some marriages end and others weather the storm.

I do know that I am thankful for my husband.

The things that bless me about Phil now are very different than they were 38 years ago. One thing I particularly appreciated about him was his red hair. Now it is almost entirely white. (mine gets grayer by the day)
But the most important quality has not changed – Phil’s committment to God and to me. I am so very thankful for that.

British writer and literary critic G.K.Chesterton said, “The test of all happiness is gratitude; and I felt grateful.” (from the book Defiant Joy, the Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K.Chesterton by Kevin Belmonte. p. 221) The defining quality of Chesterton’s life, as described by his contemporaries, was joy.

Thankfulness leads to joy.

If we cultivate thankfulness for our spouses we will experience joy in that relationship. That joy will spill over to bless our children, grandchildren, and others around us. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to love our spouse.

Paul’s prayer of thankfulness for his fellow Christians in Phillipi is an example of how we might feel and pray for our families.

Phillipians 1: 3-9

3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[b]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
May God Bless us with thankful hearts.

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4 thoughts on “Want Joy? … then be Thankful!

  1. Marsha Crites says:

    Great photo. Beautiful post. I am thankful you are my friend.

    love Marsha

    *Marsha S. Crites* *, Owner/ Designer/Facilitator*Harvest Moon Gardens 500 Harvest Moon Road Sylva, NC 28779 828-586-2726 cell 828-506-4221 http://www.harvestmoongardens.net

    Like

  2. Beth says:

    What a great post for my Sarah and Jordan to read, Gayle! They get married on Saturday, and this is Sarah’s favorite time of the year. Wish you and Phil could come. We will miss you! I am thankful that I have known you for 34 of those 38 years.
    Love, Beth

    Like

  3. Cathy Makinson says:

    Yes, we have all of that in common and I am grateful:)

    Like

  4. Tim says:

    Thankful for you and your family and all of our years together (even though a lot of them have been apart). Great photo. Great memories. And – Phil can have that red hair again with a little Just For Men combed in. 🙂 Love to you and yours this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

    Like

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