To be a Christian means to have a servant heart towards others. And what better place to practice that than in our marriage? Yep!
But, my friends, I'm not sure how well I do this personally. How about you?
Every marriage is different, but it's generally agreed that marriage is not easy, beautiful as it is.
Truthfully, I find the familiarity of living with Bryce can make me get easily annoyed with him, and impatient about many of the things he asks of me. Just being honest.
I LOVE him, but I do get annoyed. To be fair, he does too. Sometimes I drive him nuts.
There are things that matter to him that do not matter a jot to me (e.g., Looking after the car). So it's hard to care about the things he cares about. I also find I take him for granted. I find it challenging to stop and think 'Let's be servant hearted here, Ann', when he is so familiar to me.
So, perhaps in this post we can talk about what servant-heartedness can look like in marriage? Ideas would be good.
A key scripture here is this one:
Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Ephesians 5:21)
The word 'submit' is thrown around a lot in Christian circles, but it's important to know this word doesn't mean being a doormat. Instead, it means generously putting our own selfishness aside. It's about choosing not to be selfish. What's more, it is a call to both husbands and wives: Submit to each other and do it out of generous love.
- Care about what your spouse cares about.
- Treat your spouse
- Put their needs first as frequently as you do your own
- Be lavishly generous-hearted
My friends, I want to do that because I have a reverence for God, as per the above scripture. How well I do that is another matter, and that's a battle between the spirit and the flesh.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13, NIV)
It is hard. Some of us are better at this than others - Some are more service-hearted than others. But, really, we can only do any of this best when filled with the Holy Spirit: We need to be so filled with him that we can, in turn, be generous.
So, a first step is to invite Holy Spirit to come in and flood us. Pray --
Flood me, Holy Spirit, and enable me to pour out humble service to my spouse!
And then perhaps ideas can help. Here's what it might look like for me. You might have a different list:
- Bring him tea in bed.
- Give him a back scratch while watching TV, as much as he does for me.
- Do house jobs he cares about.
- Help him carry stuff in from the car
- Go on errands with him to help him
- Hang out with his friends
- Dish out his dessert before helping myself greedily first
- Give him physical affection in bed when I can tell he'd like it
- Talk to him about the things that interest him
Bryce loves listening to a political broadcaster on a Saturday and then talking to me about it. It is not my thing ... But ok, I can try to listen well.
At dinner time, I love my food. If Bryce asks me to dish something out for him on my side of the table once I'm eating ... Just do it for him.
And so on.
Now to you: What are some areas where you find it hard to serve? Or, what are some ideas for how we can humbly serve?
I look forward to hearing more about your marital adventures.
*This series is based on Tim Keller's (2013) book 'The Meaning of Marriage', published by Hodder & Stoughton, London; and today's post was based on material in chapter 2.