Week 2: Service (Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage)

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Confession.

I was unsure about this week’s topic, because I consider myself a truly sucky server in our marriage. I constantly feel like Greg serves me a hundred times more than I serve him. I feel like I fail at this 100% and completely, every single time.

Last week we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and took a short trip to New York City to celebrate. Over dinner one night we talked about service and what it looks like, and Greg helped me realize something — that my idea of service and how I actually serve him are two different things.

I have always considered serving him as giving him freshly pressed shirts for work, or a hot dinner complete with side items, or bringing him coffee in bed. And since I very, very rarely actually do any of those things, I have felt like an utter failure in the service department.

But he showed me all the ways I serve him naturally, that are different from serving him physically…and they are ways that mean so much more to him than freshly pressed shirts (although he’d never turn that down):

  • Supporting him unconditionally
  • Praying for him continually
  • Being his biggest fan and encourager
  • If he’s worried and stressed out, I first give him time and space to process it, and then I talk it through with him
  • If there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, waiting for the right time to talk to him
  • If I need help with the  house or the kids or anything else, I ask him instead of expecting him to read my mind and then resenting him when he doesn’t

That, he said, is a bigger picture of serving each other in marriage. Anticipating your spouse’s need and meeting it before it’s even asked, is really what it boils down to. (<= tweet that)

SERVICE-1-01 A few years ago, I was taking a class to help me walk through and heal from some grief and difficult situations in my life. After the first night, Greg and I met at Starbucks to talk about how it went.

I was scared to death to go and even more scared to talk about everything. I cried into my hot chocolate telling him I didn’t think I could do it. That I was all out of emotional energy to talk about it, let alone pray about it any more.

He grabbed my hands and said, “That’s why I’m here. To pray when you don’t feel strong enough to pray.”

He was Jesus in that moment. He served me more in that one exchange than any other time I can remember.

He served me love.

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Sometimes when we think about service in marriage, it feels very unfair or unevenly balanced. One can feel like all they do is XYZ and she never helps XYZ. And on the other side she’s wondering why on earth she should consider serving her husband at all because it’s never reciprocated and it’s totally unfair.

I know I’ve felt that way at times, and still do. So has Greg. And truthfully, it’s never fair. It’s rarely balanced. There will always be one person who feels they are giving and serving more than the other. And we have to let that go. (<= tweet that)

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The Children’s Ministry at our church is focusing on the characteristic “Peace” this month, and recently they invited parents to participate in the big group session with their kids. There were skits and talks and songs all focused on peace and resolving conflict in our relationships in order to rest in the peace of Christ in our homes and lives.

And they left us all with what they call the Bottom Line: Prove you care about others by letting go of “what’s fair.”

And it immediately struck me that it’s also the most perfect picture of service in marriage. Proving you care about your spouse by letting go of what you consider “fair” in order to be like Christ.

I read in an article recently that serving our spouse is our opportunity to show them a little bit of Jesus in us. And how did Jesus serve? Sacrificially, unconditionally, forgivingly and with humility. Proving He cared by letting go of “what’s fair.”

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Challenge: 

What are some ways you can uniquely serve your spouse this week without worrying about “what’s fair?” Maybe it’s having his coffee stuff out and ready to go in the morning — mug, spoon, creamer, sweetener. Maybe it’s encouraging him to get out and play basketball or go for a run so he can blow off some steam. Or maybe it’s giving him permission to be silent and grumpy when he’s internally processing through something, not demanding he share it all immediately.

Find a way to serve him and do it with no expectation of getting anything in return.

After all, that’s what Christ did for us.

Additional resources you might find helpful:

Be blessed this week. And please be sure to check out other great posts in this collaborative series!

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5 thoughts on “Week 2: Service (Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage)

  1. My favorite part of this post is that you and your husband sat down and talked. Yes, talked! What an amazing marriage you have to take the time to do that. He looked at how you serve him in different ways and wasn’t afraid to let you know. You weren’t afraid to ask. That, my friend, is beautiful. That, in itself, is one definition of service in a marriage. Rather than walk in the dark of how you felt and what you thought, the two of you shared and fixed it. Take that, Satan!!!!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement this area. It is definitely another area of struggle at our house. I am challenged to serve him as unto Christ and expect nothing in return, even though that is not fair. Thank you.

  3. Sadly, my husband and I are often poor communicators within our marriage. I like the fact that you sat down and asked him how he thinks you serve him. I am hopefully going to have the same discussion with Daniel. Thanks! Lovely as always.

  4. Feeling like he serves me So Much More than I serve him is fertile ground for Satan, in my heart. I so appreciated the concrete suggestion to set out finding a way to serve my man in some way this week, without expectation. I will do it!

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