Serving Your Spouse
Confused yet? Read on.
Amber asked me what I meant last week when I said that when we got married I wasn’t ready to serve Eric as a godly woman and wife should. I'm so glad she asked, because I remember being confused by the phrase, "serving your husband" for, oh, 26 years.
Honestly, it scared me a little bit.
To me, serving Eric means putting his needs before mine. When we got married, we became one person. (Mark 10:7-9 says "...A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”)
It took me a while after we got married to get over the fact that our clothes now touch in the closet, so I am still wrapping my head around this idea that we're one.
But, we are. So together we have needs and even if Eric has a need that I don't, it's still my need because we're one.
Are you still with me? I think I might have lost even myself on that one...
Another way to think about it, as I heard it said on Our Marriage Project, is giving 100% of yourself to the relationship or housework, rather than both people splitting the responsibilities and doing half and half. Rather than giving 50%, we're called to give 100%. And to meet our spouse's needs and desires. This isn't easy, and it requires fighting our human nature, but it's what we're called to do.
What I say it means to serve Eric:
- Doing his laundry and folding it so he has clean clothes to wear. (I don't usually put it away for him, though, so that's something I could improve on!)
- Carrying allergy medicine in my purse in case he needs it.
- Getting up from bed when he wants a glass of water but doesn't want to get up. (I've done this...once, I think...probably because I was also thirsty.)
Serving your spouse is not to say that your spouse can be lazy or have expectations of you. The cool thing is that, if we do it right, Eric will put my needs before his, too.
What the Bible says:
- Ephesians 5:24-25 says "As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church."To explain this a bit more, my Life Application Study Bible adds, "According to the Bible, the man is the spiritual head of the family, and his wife should acknowledge his leadership. But real spiritual leadership involves loving service (a form of dying). Just as Christ served the disciples, even to the point of washing their feet, so the husband is to serve his wife. A wise and Christ-honoring husband will not take advantage of his leadership role, and a wise and Christ-honoring wife will not try to undermine her husband's leadership. Either approach causes disunity and friction in marriage. ...Both husbands and wives should submit to each other (5:21), just as both should love each other."
I find comfort in knowing that "Paul devotes twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as to telling wives to submit to their husbands. How should a man love his wife? (1) He should be willing to sacrifice everything for her, (2) make her well being of primary importance, and (3) care for her as he cares for his own body. No wife needs to fear submitting to man who treats her in this way."
Eric: Jesus is a great example of how we should treat our spouses, and all people, for that matter. I am in no means an expert at this. In fact, there is quite a bit of work to be done in the servanthood area of my life. But He showed us what it was like to humble ourselves. Before the world was about to crucify him, he humbly washed his disciples feet. How crazy is that? That is pure love. So, I try my best to put Kelsey's needs, desires and requests before my own. This means setting the alarm so that I can gently wake her up in the morning, cooking her dinner, taking care of her when she is sick, and doing things for her before she has to ask me to do them.
I'm so curious of your thoughts! Let's discuss.