All of these are phrases marriage partners need to both hear and express. However, I heard this question asked on Christian radio more than a year ago and the answer has resonated in my heart and mind ever since. None of the answers that I suggested are correct. According to the source of this question, the most important words that both husband and wife need to hear from their spouse and express to their spouse are “Thank you.”
If “thank you” is the most important phrase I ever say to my husband, I dare not express these two words flippantly, but I must utter them sincerely and wholeheartedly. These words must not be spoken nonchalantly. I have heard myself saying these words with genuine consciousness numerous times a day this summer while recuperating from a broken arm. My husband has literally been my right hand 24/7! I have been overwhelmed with appreciation for his help whether he has cut up my meat at dinner or arranged a mountain of pillows around me in the recliner in the middle of the night. I have never said the words “thank you” more frequently or earnestly!
In the June 2013 issue of Guideposts magazine, I recently read the following comment made by Arlene Dahl. “Take each other for better or worse, but not for granted.” I recognize the phrase “for better or worse” as being part of the original wedding vows. A light goes on in my mind when I comprehend how not taking each other for granted can be just as important as for a husband and wife as pledging their commitment to each other regarding “better or worse” situations in life. As a wife, I am pleased to fulfill daily tasks for my husband but I feel a special warmth in my heart if my husband occasionally chooses to say thanks in recognition of something I routinely do. I have noticed how often our son will say ‘thank you” to his wife for a dinner she has prepared. He is not required to do this, but I am confident that his gratefulness is appreciated by her. It can be a highlight to have daily tasks acknowledged and not simply taken for granted. In Ephesians 5, wives are told to honor their husbands and husbands are told to love their wives. One way to honor and to love is to earnestly express the meaningful words “thank you” to one’s husband or wife.
The inclusion of the word couplet “thank you” within the vocabulary of both husband and wife definitely helps to build a strong marriage! As I am pondering this fact, I begin to sense God whispering insights to me about another type of marriage as well. In the book of Revelation, Paul refers to believers as the Bride of Christ with Jesus being our Heavenly Husband. Revelation 21:2 says, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Also selected words from Revelation 19:7&9 say, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!… the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” My Reader, if you know Jesus as your personal savior, you, along with me, are part of the bride of Christ with Jesus as our Heavenly Husband! This is the most sacred marriage and it embraces a commitment lasting for all eternity. If we perceive our relationship with Jesus to be a marriage, we should remember the primary place of the words “thank you” in our prayers and praises. Psalms 106, 107, 118 and 136 all begin by saying, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.” Uttering “thank you” to the Lord is equally as important as expressing heartfelt appreciation to our husband or wife on earth. Whether our thankful remarks are made to our earthly or heavenly marriage partner, these words must be spoken sincerely. We must be careful not to simply voice “thank you” as words we feel obligated to verbalize.
My Reader, how often does your husband or wife hear “thank you” coming from your lips? Are you more likely to say these words to your earthly or heavenly spouse? It is amazing the emotions these two little words can conceive in the person articulating the words as well as the one hearing these words spoken to him or her. God is also waiting to hear you thank Him for specific ways He has intervened in your life. It amazes me to think that I can actually bless the Lord if I merely take time to thank Him for what He so lovingly does for me every day. I suspect your husband or wife may also be blessed when personally hearing these two words. Right now I want to consciously express my thanks to both my husband with whom I currently spend every day of my life and to my Heavenly Husband with whom I will spend eternity! How about you?
Challenge for the week: First, look for opportune moments to say thank you to your husband or wife. Secondly, take time to thoughtfully recite some of the Psalms of thanksgiving as a way to say thank you to the Lord.