Last time we talked about some things we might need to let go of as wives. Today, I’d like to spend a little time on some things we might need to start doing — or at least ways we might need to refocus our efforts.
So let’s start here: In what three areas do you least like serving your husband? Or, put another way, what three specific things do you know he likes/wants/appreciates/needs, but you just don’t like to do?
By doing the things we like to do to serve our husbands, we’re really serving ourselves, not our husbands. These things might still be helpful to our husbands, but as long as they’re things we also want, they are service to ourselves primarily. That doesn’t mean they’re all bad things. If my husband and I both want the laundry done, and I do the laundry, that’s good — it’s just not selfless service.
By intentionally ignoring the aspects of serving our husbands that we don’t like, we’re ultimately saying “I’ll ‘serve’ you as long as I like it, as long as I want to, as long as I’m getting something out of it, too.” Consider what terrible marriage vows that would make: “I promise to love and serve you as long as I like what that entails. When I don’t like what it entails, however, I will choose to not serve you. You’re not that important.” Yikes!
But essentially that’s what we’re telling our husbands when we don’t seek to meet the needs they want met. We put ourselves first by only meeting his needs if we’re not being too inconvenienced, as long as it’s not too much extra effort for us. This is incredibly hurtful. Imagine if your husband only loved you when it was convenient for him — if, when you were difficult to love (and for some of us, this is much of the time!), he stopped bothering. And I know some of you don’t have to imagine this at all; you live it. But you know how hurtful this is, and how harmful it is to a marriage. And this is exactly what we do to our husbands oftentimes. We “love” them (read: put their needs first) when their wants and needs don’t interfere with our own – so we’re not really putting their wants needs ahead of ours at all.
Okay, so consider again those three ways that your husband would like to be served that you don’t like. These might be mundane. For instance, while my husband isn’t a fan of piles lying about the house, I don’t really like putting laundry away:
(This photo is from about 5 years ago. Generally my piles aren’t quite as bad now…..)
One (or more) of the three might be of a more adult nature. (I will not be inserting a picture here.)
Some of the three might be things he’s been asking you to do for a long time. This summer I made an extensive chart of things I wanted to get done and things my husband wanted me to do. Some of these things had been on my to-do list for years. Let me tell you – it felt REALLY good to get them all done!
Now, once you’ve thought of your three things, ask yourself: why do you dislike them?
First, are they illegal? Are they physically dangerous or otherwise harmful to you or others? If so, obviously I’m not advocating that you do them. I am suggesting that you seek help outside yourself, however. Here’s a resource that may help: http://referrals-loc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/referrals_loc.cfg/php/loc/enduser/loc.php.
If none of this is true, consider: Is it because these three things are boring to you? Or time-consuming for you? Or uninteresting for you? See the pattern? All of these have to do with our preferences — not his needs.
God has so much more in store for our marriages than we ever allow Him to do! The sorts of blessings He can give us in our relationship with our husbands are unmatched in any other human relationship. But He will not flood our marriages with these blessings if we are serving ourselves instead of one another.
Do we always feel like serving (again, read: loving) our husbands in selfless ways? No! (Well, if you do, then you’re a much better woman than I am!)
Why don’t we always feel like serving our husbands? Plenty of reasons, I believe. Sometimes the fault is theirs: they act in hard-to-love ways sometimes; they don’t always love us like they should. Sometimes the fault is ours: we’re too busy with our own needs or the needs of others (unless you are clearly led to do this by God, don’t replace service to your husband with service to someone (anyone!) else); we’re tired; whatever he’s asking for doesn’t seem important to us.
But the main reason we don’t meet our husbands’ needs is that we aren’t loving God the way we should. Once we are continually (daily, minute-by-minute) being filled with God’s love, loving our husbands becomes possible. It becomes fulfilling. Even enjoyable. . . . usually.
And what does it mean to continually be filled with God’s love? (See the previous post about abiding in Him.) Ultimately, the main thing in our lives has to be our relationship with God — He is our Source of strength, our best friend, our Father, the Lover of our souls.
And He has an amazing design for our marriages! Not all good marriages will look the same – and that’s good – our walks with God don’t all look the same either. My prayer is that we’ll all find God’s best for our marriages – and this takes time. Time with God. Time serving our husbands. All of this, though, is time well spent.
Here’s my challenge to you today: Look at your list of three ways your husband would like to be served that you don’t like. (Again, as long as they’re not harmful, etc.,) prayerfully consider doing all three of these sometime this week. I know that might seem ambitious, but we put a lot of effort into lots of far-less-important things.
Think about this: If someone from church called and needed you to do three things that would take some rearranging of your schedule and some extra time from your week, would you do them? What if your child’s teacher needed you to do something for the classroom? What if your boss needed you to pick up some work, maybe for a co-worker who got sick? What if a friend needed some extra attention? We rearrange and reallocate our time for lots of different reasons. Reasons that, ultimately, should come AFTER our service to our husbands.
So, rearrange and reallocate what you have to. Show your husband that next to God, he’s the most important thing in your life. And, remember, he’s not going to believe he’s important if these things are done grudgingly. This has to be done with a cheerful, servant’s heart.
I’d love hear about successes or roadblocks, either in the comments here or in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Trust me, ladies. Our husbands will notice this!
Next week: part 3 of the wife series: the biggest and most culturally-encouraged saboteur of marriages….
Click here to read part 1 of the wife series: “why won’t he________?”
Click here to read the “(becoming) fully submitted” series.
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Thanks to all of you who are praying for the anonymous girls in this week’s (prayer) warrior wednesday post!