My husband, Eric, and I have been married for SEVENTEEN years. In marriage years, that is a really long time! It breaks my heart to now be in the category of long lasting marriages. Sometimes, I feel like we are just now getting in our groove. Over the years we have been through a lot of stuff and we have both really messed up! However, we stuck it out, we persevered and God has truly honored that and blessed our marriage.
Early in marriage, I loved doing things for my husband. I wanted to serve him. I enjoyed making him feel special and taken care of. Those were great things to do, but the reasoning behind them wasn’t so great. I wasn’t doing them to really serve, I was doing them to be loved. I was also doing them to be served in return. I thought marriage was give and take; I was ensuring I made good on both sides of that. It doesn’t sound that awful; in fact, culture will tell you that is how it should be. However, marriage isn’t really 50/50, it is 100/100.
Living your life to be loved, even by your spouse will lead you to a very unfulfilled place. Eventually, your spouse won’t respond like you think they should. He may not know he should take out the trash just because you hand delivered his morning coffee with a smile and cute night gown. She may not know you cleaned out her car because you wanted to go “parking”.
So, what is the key to a truly successful marriage? Serving: truly putting your spouse’s needs and desires above your own with no expectation of anything in return. It is not always easy or exciting. In fact, the idea of serving sometimes brings on feelings of dread or animosity. But, Jesus himself chose to be an example of what was best for us by coming as a servant. The most miserable Christians are the ones that are living out of self-serving motives.
(Philippians 2:3) “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”
(Phillippians 2:5) “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
To have an amazing marriage, you must have the same attitude Jesus had. He put everyone else’s best interests above His own. We must start with that in our marriages. Serving your spouse invites the blessings of God into your marriage! Culture tells us this is wrong, we should just do what makes us happy and serve ourselves. Our human nature tells us that marriage exists for our desires to be met. We, however, must be led by the Spirit and not our human nature or culture.
(Galatians 5:13) “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love”
It is not just about serving your spouse, it is about serving them with no motive. Serving simply because Jesus gave us the freedom to live our lives to the fullest and that can only happen if we do it His way. Marriage can be so fulfilling if we quit trying to do it our way and try it God’s way. To live your life in sacrifice to another is truly the Jesus way.
I encourage you to search your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to show you any wrong motives you may have in serving your spouse. It may be a little scary to humble yourself and serve when we have been taught to stand tall in pride, but perfect love casts out all fear!