My husband and I have been married for 25 years. That sounds like a really long time!
You would think that knowing the great man that he is would have me scrambling to serve him at every turn. But in spite of all that I admire about him, it’s often not enough to motivate me to want to wash his clothes, iron his shirt, pack his lunch, or cook his meals.
You know who my heart naturally wants to serve? Myself.
While sometimes my love for my husband is enough to propel me to do all those things that will benefit him, too often I’d rather neglect them, or push them aside, so that I can do what I want to do.
Why am I even concerned about serving my husband? Jesus said in Matthew 23:11, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” I know from Jesus’ own example in His earthly life that if I want to be like Him, then I will serve others. What better place to start than with my closest earthly relationship?
I also like this reminder in I Peter 4:10. “As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” As I minister to and serve my husband, I am stewarding or managing the amazing grace that God has shown to me. I’m demonstrating God’s grace to someone else, in this case, the one I’ve vowed to be with for the rest of my life.
So what exactly does it mean to serve? One dictionary definitions says “to perform duties or services for another person.” I can handle that one. But another one I saw said “to be a servant.” Talk about humility! Signing up to be a servant to anyone is not something I instinctively jump to do. Yet that’s exactly what Jesus did when he washed the disciples’ feet in John 13:3-5.
I like the way this particular definition is framed – “to render assistance; be of use; help.” I think that one best describes what I want to be for my husband. In fact, it relates to my calling as a wife, as God created Eve to be a “help meet” for Adam.
I certainly need the Holy Spirit’s help in this area. If my goal is to make my husband’s life easier, I think I need to start with these three basic principles.
1. It’s an attitude. I think a right attitude comes first. I can perform the actions without this, but I think my husband would sense that it’s not genuine. If I want to check myself, I can ask, “Is my attitude about doing this for my husband the same as if I were doing it for Christ?” Would I complain about serving Him? Sometimes it means we overlook a habit that annoys us, or demonstrate patience when we feel like we’ve served enough.
2. It’s actions. I think serving my husband starts with the right attitude, but if that attitude doesn’t display itself in actions, I’m not really serving! I think this looks different for every couple. What does YOUR husband like? Mine likes a hot breakfast most mornings. Your husband may not care about that one bit. What specific actions show him that you are wanting to help him?
3. It’s prayer. I know I’ve recommended it before, but Stormie O’Martian’s book The Power of a Praying Wife does a good job detailing areas of your husband’s life to cover in prayer. Kat Lee from Inspired to Action typically tweets out a daily post of something to pray for your husband, like “God, fill him with your joy. Refresh him with your spirit.” Our husbands need to know that they have a wife who is praying for them. (I’ve gotten back into doing my monthly family prayer list in January. Having that list of five requests for the month helps me make sure I pray specific prayers for him daily.)
Do we only serve our husband when he’s in a good mood and treating us well? No. I think that’s where the love of God can really shine through us. We can be lovely even when he’s not. It is, however, an act of the Spirit through us, since it’s not our natural reaction to serve a person who’s not loving us in the way we want to be loved.
Easy words to write here, hard to live! Already knowing I’ll be tested in this area very soon! 🙂