Last time, I wrote about Chapter Three in the book "Created to Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious" by Debi Pearl which was about having a thankful spirit. If you're just joining us, you can start at Chapter One and Chapter Two. Many of this book's topics aren't popular today and will require us to be serious with ourselves and God. If you're ready, let's go!
Chapter Four: Thanksgiving Produces Joy
Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are all very similar, talking about joy, peace and thankfulness. Debi Pearl writes:
Live with thanksgiving, forgiveness, and joy, and enjoy all your moments as if they were your last.... You have control over whether or not you and your husband will be "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7) or partners together in the tension and stress of life. You have much more control than you know.
Debi then tells a story where she was given a chance to become angry and bitter toward her husband, but she instead chose to love and forgive and find joy in it. We're so used to responding in anger when we don't get our way or people act in a way we don't aprove of. How does that affect our relationships? We have to choose to be angry and bitter. Why not choose thankfulness and joy instead? When our husbands don't do what we want (like taking out the garbage), should we become bitter about it or should we learn to enjoy helping him with it (not nagging, but doing it ourselves)?
Debi emphasizes that we and our husbands are playmates in this life together. Look for ways to have FUN in life. So often we drag ourselves through life without joy, peace or thanksgiving. Why not look for ways to enjoy life with our spouses instead?
She encourages us to remember that we are his helper and one of the things he needs is a playmate. Someone to make life more enjoyable. Someday you could have a wonderful relationship, but not because he's perfect or does everything you want, not because you are perfect or nag him to "help" him be a better person. You could have a wonderful relationship if you chose to go through your life and marriage with an outlook of forgiveness, not taking offense, even when you have a right to and being thankful for each day you have. You can have goodwill and a merry heart towards each other, if you chose to.
Lastly, remember that it's never too late to start. You can begin a life of thankfulness and joy from this day forward. Though you may think too much bad has happened, remember that Jesus' love and forgiveness can reach you wherever you are and you can begin changing your own attitude right now. Remember: practice makes perfect. Try practicing have a merry, thankful heart and goodwill towards your husband, no matter what has happened between you. Forgive him. Remember, you will never have to forgive anyone more than Jesus has forgiven you and we are commanded to forgive, no strings attached. I know with God's help we can do it!
Questions to ponder this week:
- Am I my husband's playmate?
- Do I chose to forgive and forget regularly? Do I have goodwill towards my husband?
- Do I find joy and thankfulness in doing things my husband doesn't when I want him to or do I harbor bitterness in my heart?
- Am I willing to begin a life of forgiveness today, remember that Jesus first forgave me?
- What do I have to be thankful in my life?