The Transforming Power of Thanksgiving


Sarah Bartel // Genius of the Call

1 Comments

November 25  

Thanksgiving, gratitude, and affirmation are bountiful gifts. None of us should hesitate to ladle heaping servings of them onto the mashed potatoes of our marriage and family life. Seconds are fine!

I find that gratitude is a savory sauce that should not be skimped, especially in marriage. Our husbands need to hear that we appreciate their hard work, their time playing with, teaching, and helping the kids, and their benevolent mercy to us when they take all our offspring out of the house for a nice, long (pandemic safe) drive, while we moms sit on the couch in silence and veg out for one blessed hour. To keep sane. Thank you, thank you, Honey!

Affirmation goes along with gratitude. What husband doesn’t like to hear again that he’s handsome, smart, and handy? Mine certainly does. Somehow, though, it’s oh-so-easy to slip into a pattern of criticism, complaining, and fault-finding. Whoa, easy on the salt!

What my husband and I have learned through experience, as well as through our ministry to married couples, is that criticism kills romance, while affirmation and gratitude nourish it.

The power of gratitude and affirmation for our marriage is not simply that it makes our mate feel good.

Developing the habit of thanksgiving and affirmation changes us, the giver of thanks.

On days when I challenge myself to look for five things to thank my husband for, I notice more of the good that he does. I feel more thankful. My vision changes. I feel more deeply how blessed I am to have him as my husband.

Thanksgiving transforms me.

That’s just what the Eucharist does, as well. Eucharist literally means “thanksgiving” in Greek. Eucharisteo means “I give thanks.” When we receive the Eucharist, we are transformed into “thanksgiving.” We are taken up into Jesus’ own offering of himself which he gives in thanks to the Father. It makes us realize that grace is what feeds and sustains us. As Catholic wives and mothers, the Eucharist can help us become women of thanksgiving. It can help us realize our vocation to become a love that gives.

There is a generosity to thanksgiving. Giving, in fact, is half the word.

Let’s give gratitude generously to our husbands. Pour compliments lavishly, packed down and overflowing, so that the habit rubs off on our children, as well.

This Thanksgiving, let’s strive to be transformed into Eucharistic women—women who give thanks.

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