As a man who has only been married for a little less than two years, I'm still a little hesitant to teach and instruct on marriage. Many older married couples still think my wife Kaitlyn and I are in some magical honey moon stage and that a day will come when that will no longer be the case (It is my goal to make sure that never happens). As a result, I have felt slightly inadequate teaching on a subject I'm still learning about. I'm still learning how to be a Godly husband and a best friend to my beautiful wife, and I know I will spend the rest of my life learning to love her and cherish her more. However, I must be honest. I absolutely adore my relationship with Kaitlyn Deeter. I love our marriage. I look forward to going home every night to see her and spend time with her. She is my best friend, companion, and helper. The success of our first few years of marriage is all attributed to God's grace and mercy. However, I wanted to share with you some wisdom that was given to us by Kaitlyn's Aunt and Uncle before we were married. In fact, it is some of the best marriage advice I've ever received. Here is what it is:
In your marriage try to out serve one another.
It is that simple, and it has made all the difference. That simple sentence of wisdom is more than just a command in action, but a change in attitude of how must people think about marriage. Most of our culture thinks of marriage as nothing more than a contract in which the other is to meet person is expected to meet their needs. For example, I'll clean up the dishes and take out the trash, and you better have sex with me tonight. Most people think of marriage as a balance between give and take. In our minds we constantly keep score on who is giving and whose taking more. We keep a score card and have our expectations on what our spouse needs to do for us, and when they begin to not measure up, we become bitter, vengeful, angry, and hostile.
This attitude of "what can you do for me" is a virus that will destroy a marriage, because your spouse will never perfectly meet your expectations. However, when we take the "what can you do for me" and flip it to "How can I best serve them" the score keeping stops. You are no longer thinking about your own needs or wants but the needs of your spouse. So a husband cleans up the dishes and takes out the trash, not to necessarily get anything back from his wife in return. Rather, he does it simply because he loves his wife and wants to serve her. When both the husband and wife begins to think this way, we become less like the world and more like Jesus. Listen to His words from Matthew 20:28
even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
When Jesus came to the earth, he had no concern for what other people could do for him. He didn't come to earth to get anything in return, but came to serve us and lay down his life for us. A Godly marriage seeking to honor and glorify Christ must have this kind of attitude. We must cast aside a self-centered view of marriage and try to out serve our spouse. This means keep taking out the dishes even though you don't get anything in return. Keep serving your spouse as Jesus has even though you receive no immediate benefit. Serve your spouse because you love them, not to receive anything in return. In my own marriage, this has been an incredible help as we both strive to be more like Christ and out serve one another.
In your own marriage, how can you imitate Jesus like this? Does your marriage reflect the mind and heart Jesus had? Do you treat your spouse as a slave to satisfy your own desires, or do you love them through unconditional service? What can you do today to serve your spouse?