Marriage Matters: Serving your spouse (even when you don't feel like it!)
Today's post might be my most unpopular. Servant-hood in itself is a touchy subject and definitely an area of growth for most of us. Serving can mean different things, so let me clarify what I mean when I refer to serving our spouse.
Service [sur-vis] ; noun: an act of helpful activity; help; aid:
Serve: [surv]; verb: to render assistance; be of use; help.
[credit to dictionary.com]
I learned the importance of serving in my local church but I will say in this season, I've learned the application of servant-hood, especially within the home. In my career as a counselor - my 'catch phrase' is always, I look forward to serving you. And I am always honored to serve my clients.
But servant-ship in our homes is also important. As a wife, I serve not only my family by fulfilling my personal duties as well as our family's tasks - but I also have learned to serve my husband. Even when I don't feel like it. Here are my favorite tips about serving your spouse...
- Serving our spouse is an act of love: This is probably the most important of them all. Serving our husband dinner, preparing our home for our husband, appreciating our husband for his work, taking care of our husband's needs - they all can be squeezed into one big word - LOVE. And this my friends - is what differs from a spouse serving out of wrong motives versus the right motives. Serving our spouse says "I love you enough to be helpful towards you - even if there's a chance it won't be reciprocated"
- Serving our spouse is self-less: The last sentence begins our second point. Serving has to be a self-less act in order for our motives to be right. For example: If we are serving thanksgiving dinner at a shelter to those without - and we are expecting people to admire us, or for individuals being served to tip us, etc. then we are serving selfishly! When we serve our spouses we are taken into account their needs and how we can be helpful to them, regardless of how we are feeling emotionally. This is important because I always teach in my sessions that our feelings should NOT dictate our actions, especially if they are negative. Serving our spouse helps us grow as an individual as well as helps us build character. This leads into our last point...
- Serving our spouse helps model behavior: When we serving our spouse, even when our emotions don't match the desire - we are showing self control, patience, and grace - character traits that most of us consider desirable. And to whom we are showing these efforts means even more. When your children witness your servant attitude they learn the first two points I mentioned without you even have to teach them! And here's something to think about it - when your spouse sees your servant attitude, time after time, unless they are incredibly hurt and detached from your relationship, it usually sparks something in their hearts - appreciation, gratitude, even examining their own level of service towards you.
Notice that I stated above that unless they are incredibly hurt or detached - those are signs that your relationship may be damaged - and of course serving is wonderful, but it does not replace the need for counseling in order to work on a 'cracked' foundation. If your heart is hardened to the idea of even serving your spouse - this may also be a symptom of repressed hurt or fear.
Today - think about how you are serving your spouse lately? Have you been? If not - think of one way you can serve your spouse today from your heart.