Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness.... Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. -- Ps. 100:1-2,4
Now may the God of peace... make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight.... -- Hebrews 13:20-21
Last night my husband and I watched the last of a series of DVDs on improving communication between couples. We have been married 23 years, but we have yet to master the art of communication. "The Us Factor" by Joseph Melnick, Ph.D. has opened our minds to better ways of communicating with each other: asking real questions, asking for what we want, listening, waiting for an answer -- basically slowing down the discussion so that real communication can take place.
Afterward, I asked my husband, who has been feeling slightly depressed lately, if he knew of anything that would help him feel happier. He works very hard. He makes a very good salary, but we also have a large mortgage. So he feels the burden of not having a choice but to work very hard. And, although he is willing for me not to work, so that I can devote more time to writing, he wants me to realize that he is making a sacrifice. I told him that I am grateful, but clearly he doesn't feel it.
The readings above put these thoughts together. The way I show God that I love and appreciate all the blessings he has given me is to do what he asks me to do: to help others in need. The way I show God that I love and appreciate him is the same way I need to show my husband that I love and appreciate him: with acts of love.
I know my husband values acts of love (helping him, running errands for him, making special treats for him, etc.). These are things I don't do very often. And yet, I find time to help people at church. I find time to help my children and run their errands. I find time to read the books I want to read, and write in my journal. My husband gets whatever time and energy is left, which isn't much.
On last night's DVD, Dr. Melnick said: "Love is a verb -- it's loving.... It takes energy.... Love is actions. Part of love is doing something for another person that you don't particularly want to do."
My husband has done this for me. I feel most loved from quality communication. That is why these DVDs have been so good for us as a couple. They have helped us communicate with each other better. My husband is the one who researched, found, and bought these DVDs for us.
Dr. Melnick said, "We think saying, 'I love you,' is magical. As if it will fix what's ailing us." But these words are not enough. We need to feel loved. Love needs to touch our hearts.
Thanksgiving and praise are great, but only if they are followed with actions, otherwise they are merely words. God wants us to show our love for him by loving our neighbor as he loves us. Loving and worshiping God is loving our neighbor as God loves us -- and vice versa. "Faith by itself, without works, is dead," as James wrote in his letter. My gratitude and love for my husband, just as much as my gratitude and love for God, needs to be shown so that both know the depth of my feelings.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for helping me see what I can do. Please help me keep my husband's heart in my hands. Please sustain me with the energy I need to show all love that I feel. Love always, Pam