Wednesday, November 27, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

 I overdid it in the kitchen the past couple of days to the point where I had to put on my arm braces tonight. Without warning, my husband finished cleaning up the kitchen from today's baking marathon, and the cat curled up on my lap. Through the wall, I could hear our 6-year-old neighbor laughing and playing with one of her cousins.

The sights. Listen closely, and you can hear the sounds: 
someone else doing the dishes and little ones laughing.

Sweet, pint-sized laughter, dirty dish deliverance, and a feline lap warmer are little luxuries that I sometimes don't think too much about. Though I notice when they are absent, often woefully verbalizing my observations (especially in regards to the kitchen help), I do not always take the time to appreciate said luxuries in the moment. My mind easily wanders from the present and into the future, thinking about all the things that need to get done.  For example, rather than thanking my husband for pitching in, I say kind things like: “Don’t forget you need to take out the trash before tomorrow.” I thereby fail to thank him for his help, and I instead point out yet another way he can serve me (your royal highness, apparently). Furthermore, when he doesn’t help me with the dishes, I often complain to him how much I hate washing the dishes or that I wish he wasn’t so tired all the time so that he could help. (And think about what that kind of statement implies: I'm not wishing you weren't tired because of your physical, mental, or spiritual well-being; I'm wishing you weren't tired because I don't want to do the dishes. How selfish is that?)

Yes, I know that there are "worse" things that I could say or do to him. But Proverbs 27:15 says, “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” One meaning of contentious is “prone to arguing or provoking argument.” (Thanks, Spotlight.) Whether my comments are intended to cause an argument with my husband or not, it’s likely that they will. And even if they don’t, my montage of ungratefulness is unfeeling and undeserved. What’s more, it’s both selfish and sinful.

Honesty is one thing, but “speaking your mind” is something else. We need to have regard to what we say, especially to the first person that we, as wives, are called to minister to: our husbands. Husbands need our respect; God commands it of us (Eph. 5, 1 Peter 3). I pray that this holiday season, as tensions run higher than they do at most other times of the year, I will be more sensitive to the things that I say to my husband, whether by word or by implication.

Part of making the most of what you’ve got is appreciating what’s right in front of you. I would like to encourage you to affirm your husband through kind words. May Proverbs 31:26 be said of you: “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving, with all of the laughter and warmth (and none of the dishes).

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