Challenges, Commitment, For Women, Love

Thankfulness: Learning How to Speak a New Language

If you asked me how I would describe my life in one word, I would of course have to use two and say “in-between.”

Our latest life adventure has taken us to the small fishing town of Westport, WA where we are blessed to be able to enjoy summer a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Frustrations

Fight for your marriage.

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However, being a wife, momma to Dela, and not really having a “home” I’m going to be brutally honest…there are some tough days. Most of our belongings are in a moving truck sitting outside the condo which doesn’t help my feelings of being unsettled and in-between.

From not knowing where our feet are going to land this fall; to not being near close friends and their kids; to sort of feeling left out of a lot of things I use to do in summer’s past because of this season – it’s all a bit frustrating.

The limitations of a small town, and phrases like “No,” “I can’t make it”, “we need to pass” have all began weighing on my heart and of course, my marriage. Quickly and quietly blame set in and my vocabulary with Ryan quickly changed from one of thankfulness to ungratefulness and complaining.

I’ve suddenly put us on opposite teams and everything is his fault at this point…

Complaining chips away at him

Speaking from experience, a complaining wife chips away at her husband and his heart.

She doesn’t motivate him or bless him. In fact Proverbs 21:19 says it’s better for a man to live in a desert than with a nagging/quarrelsome/fretful woman — yep, complaining falls under these terms.

Marriage is one of life's grandest adventures.

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Again, Ryan can attest, that complaining is one of my biggest weaknesses and it affects him deeply.

It leads him to believe that I don’t value him, his contribution to our marriage, his place as the head of our family (Ephesians 5:23), and his efforts in the FM ministry.

All of which are completely untrue but again, complaining takes us down this path as husband and wife.

My words of complaint chip away at the life of our marriage (Proverbs 18:21).

Fighting fiercely

How can I fight off this language of complaining in order to keep Jesus at the center, and our marriage full of the life Christ intended for it?

A simple answer: by learning the language of thankfulness.

Ann_voskamp_onethousandgifts

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In Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts she identified the common language of women and how Paul (Philippians 4:11-12) reveals the secret to living a joyful life in Christ.

Ann’s words helped me identify where my struggle was coming from and also, how to combat it. (One Thousand Gifts, p. 46) “Long, I am woman who speaks but one language, the language of the fall–discontentment and self-condemnation, the critical eye and the never satisfied.”

Learning a new language

Wives, it’s time we learn a new language, one that Ann identifies as eucharisteo (greek; meaning to be grateful, to be thankful, to give thanks).

For some of us, this may be the very battle God is asking us to fight in order to save our marriage – to learn the language of thankfulness.

Ann references Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV) – “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how  to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”

This is a bit long, but well worth it so stick with me!

(One Thousand Gifts, p. 47)

A sweet wife is one of the best blessings in life.

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“I read it many times, groping for the latch. There it is–the secret to living joy in every situation, the full life of eucharisteo. Twice Paul whispers it: ‘I have learned…’ Learned. I would have to learn eucharisteo. Learn eucharisteo — learn to live it fully. Learn it like I know my skin, my face, the words on the end of my tongue. Like I know my own name. Learn how to be thankful– whether empty or full. Could the list (in reference to the list of one thousand things she was grateful for) teach me even that hard language? Over time? Gratitude in the midst of death and divorce and debt– that’s the language I’ve got to learn to speak — because that’s the kind of life I’m living, the kind I have to solve. If living eucharisteo is the key to unlocking the mystery of life, this I want. I want the hunt, the long sleuth, the careful piecing together. To learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. That is a secret worth spending a life on learning. Even if it takes a Rosetta Stone of decades.”

Can I get an amen?

A call to learn = a call to fight

Wives we are fighting a real enemy who would love to see our marriages destroyed because of the huge affect our relationship with our spouse has on this world, beginning with our children.

Generations are affected by us not choosing the Lord and in this case, choosing to learn the language of thankfulness.

There is an urgency to fight; to wage war not of the flesh but of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:12) because God’s plan is not done yet! He is working in and through us to get us back to His original and beautiful design of marriage.

Why?

An excellent wife who can find? The heart of her husband trusts in her.

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Because He loves us. He loves all of humanity and has sacrificed more than we can ever know (John 3:16).

This is our time wives, to dedicate our minds and our hearts to learning a new language – one of thankfulness so that we may bring glory to our King and life to our marriage.

Question: What is one way you can show your husband you are thankful for him today?

Images by Jeff Marsh.


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