Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
When my wife and I first got married, I had this wild, romantic notion to keep a secret thankfulness journal for her. Here’s how it was supposed to work. Every day for a year I planned to write down one thing I loved about her. Then I would surprise her the next Christmas with a year’s worth of appreciation. I imagined when she opened it, she would swoon, kiss me and then cook me a really nice dinner.
Women love that kind of stuff, right?
So I went out one blustery January day, bought a pink, girly journal and began what I thought would be an easy way to score major points in my marriage.
The first week was awesome. On day eight, however, I had a slight problem. I ran out of material. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like my wife isn’t great, but after about seven days, I thought I had written it all down. I am a guy, after all. We’re not exactly wired for sensitivity and emotional intelligence.
My journal went something like this:
Day 1 – You’re pretty.
Day 2 – You’re nice.
Day 3 – You’re pretty nice.
When my wife Christy was pregnant with our first daughter, we did the breathing classes where they teach dads how completely useless they’re going to be during the delivery process. Remind your wife to breath. Yeah, that’s helpful. It’s like giving a toddler a spoon to go stir their play-doh so they can “help” you cook dinner.
At the end of the class they offered a tour of the hospital to get parents oriented before the big day. Christy suggested we go, but I would have none of it.
“Honey,” I said, “I’m a minister. I’ve visited a ton of people there. You don’t need a tour. You have me!”
Earlier this year I scored a couple of free tickets to the ballet, thinking it might be a great, cheap date with my wife, Christy. To be honest, the ballet isn’t really my thing. I spend most of my entertainment time watching movies where things explode. One trip to the ballet, though, and I knew I would totally impress Christy with my cultured, sensitive side.
Besides, how bad could it be? They surely had a concession stand and some kind of half-time, right?
I hadn’t given it much thought until the night before the performance. But then, Friday evening, I began to suffer from what I can only describe as severe ballet anxiety. I knew there would be a lot of dancing and men in tights, both of which make me uncomfortable.
I checked the tickets. The ballet had a high-brow French or Italian name I’d never heard of before.
What had I gotten myself into? I had no idea how long this thing would last or if I would even be able to follow it.