Written by Bethany Bartholomew
It’s the holidays—a time for family, togetherness, and expressions of gratitude. The Thanksgiving tradition especially helps us remember to be grateful, giving a nod to the pilgrims’ celebration of plenty after facing hardship, starvation, and cold.
So what’s your celebration of plenty? What do you have plenty of in your marriage?
Here are some ideas that might help you think of all the plentiful things you’re grateful for in your marriage this year:
What are your favorite moments that you spent together as a couple this year? (These can include times when you were also with friends or family.) What made those moments so special, tender, or fun?
Take a few moments this holiday season to reminisce about the special moments you’ve shared and memories you’ve made.
Let your spouse know just how much you enjoyed being with them and how much you appreciate the time they spent to be with you.
You’ve both given a lot—that’s how marriages work.
There’s plenty of discussion and compromise as well as plenty of service and sacrifice. What has your spouse given this year that helped you out?
Maybe your spouse was especially good at giving of their time or just lending a listening ear. Maybe they took focus away from hobbies a few times for special date nights or unplanned togetherness.
Tell your spouse how much you appreciate all the sacrifices they made this year for you and for your marriage, recognizing even the little things that your spouse has done.
What has made the two of you stronger as a couple this year?
Some unifying moments can come in the middle of something really hard. Working through difficult times can make you both stronger as individuals and as a couple. But sometimes you feel the most at one with your spouse when you are just working together to get the kids out the door in the morning.
Spend some time talking with your spouse about all the different things that have brought you closer. Express gratitude for your spouse’s efforts to bring you both together, through the hard times and the good times and the in-between.
You may even surprise them with stories of moments they may not have thought were significant but which made you feel like you understood them better or were closer to them because of it.
Marriage is a vulnerable thing. You both learn so much about each other—good and bad—and know exactly what makes the other person happy, sad, upset, excited, etc. Because of that, you and your spouse have to trust your emotions to each other. How did your spouse protect your emotions this year? Was there a time that your spouse tried to make something easier for you because they recognized you would be stressed if you had to do it on your own? Did your spouse keep confidences and not tell their friends about something that may have been embarrassing to you in the moment (even if it would have been a funny story later on)? Let your spouse know just how much you trust them, and tell them the ways that they have helped build that trust. Point out to them the things that made all the difference to you, and express appreciation for those moments.
Marriage takes work, but so does life. Careers, chores, community responsibilities, children, you name it. There are plenty of things on your to-do list and your spouse’s to-do list. What are the things you were able to get to do together? Or what are some ways that you worked side-by-side even when each of you were focusing on completely different tasks? How has your spouse’s hard work helped you, even when you didn’t get to work together? Give your spouse a well-deserved pat on the back (or even a nice long hug) and say thank you for all the hard work that your spouse does every day.
Marriage may take work, but it’s also so much fun! There’s plenty of laughter, smiles, jokes, playful teasing, witty banter, and just all-around goofiness. You also get to spend time together going on dates, relaxing on vacations, playing sports, going shopping, and more. Look back on all the fun you’ve had together, and don’t be afraid to have a good laugh over all the awkward, goofy, silly, funny, or even slightly embarrassing moments you may have shared as well. No other couple has had the exact same moments you’ve had, so let your spouse know just how special they are to you and how much they make you smile.
Of course, in a marriage there is always plenty of love. Your spouse may have shown you love in all the experiences you thought about while reading through the list above. But it doesn’t stop there! Your love is unique, and your spouse probably said “I love you” in more ways than one this last year. Tell them you love them too! And talk about all the ways you’ve felt loved by your spouse, expressing thanks for the love they give in the ways they give it.
Thought of any other ideas? Maybe you remembered a gift that your spouse gave you that still tugs on your heart strings when you think about it. Or maybe you remembered a hard time you had this year that you couldn’t have gone through without your spouse. Your special someone is irreplaceable and, of course, special. There’s no one exactly like them. So as you celebrate plenty this holiday season, take a few moments to tell your spouse how grateful you are for them and to express appreciation for the plentiful things you have in your marriage.
Photo Credit: Bryan Streigler Photography
You may also enjoy Dear Husband, I Never Thanked You and 5 Ways to Show Gratitude for Your Spouse This Thanksgiving
"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
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