“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
-- Philippians 1:3
“To love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Keeping a promise like that comes naturally to young couples who are caught up in the first flush of romantic love. But feelings can fade with time. When that happens, cherishing – one of Focus on the Family’s twelve traits of a healthy and thriving marriage – can only survive and grow if it graduates to a higher level. It needs to be lifted out of the realm of mere emotion and transformed into a steady, consistent attitude. In other words, it has to become an intentional act of the will.
Exactly how do you achieve this? The answer is simple: by remembering. When life becomes comfortable, familiar, and routine, most of us get complacent. We forget the blessings we’ve received. We lose the ability to cherish the people who mean the most to us and to appreciate the gifts of grace that have brought us to our present position. That’s why God so often had to remind the people of Israel of the wonders He had performed on their behalf (Isaiah 46:9). That’s why Jesus established the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of His redeeming work on the cross (Luke 22:19). “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” sings the psalmist, “and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2). It’s a recurring theme throughout Scripture.
November is the month for giving thanks. And, interestingly enough, giving thanks is an important part of remembering and cherishing. Think about it for a moment and you’ll see what we mean. It’s when you remember how much you treasure something – or someone – that you’re driven to express your gratitude in word and deed. That’s a very special moment in any relationship.
Do you recall the story about the lepers Jesus healed (Luke 17:11-19)? There were ten of them, but only one – a Samaritan – remembered to go back and give thanks for the gift he’d received. It was in that moment, rather than at the point of the actual healing, that his bond with Christ was firmly established and sealed.
It works the same way in marriage. If you really want your spouse to know how much you cherish him or her, then find some meaningful ways to say thanks. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the good times. Thanks for getting up and going to work, doing the laundry, cooking the meals, and taking care of the kids. Thanks for loving me and letting me love you.
Do you want to have a great Thanksgiving this year? Then don’t forget to say “thanks” to your spouse!