The past year has been trying on our marriage. There's been lots of change, with incredible highs – but also so many new fears and anxieties. When we're home, we let our guards down and those emotions get spilled out on one another. It's easy to take out my personal fears on Chris... too easy. He is such a sweet man, and he works hard to be a good and faithful leader for us. So, one thing that I’ve been trying to work hard on is to be more aware of Chris’s needs. I won't lie and say taking care of him doesn't come easy to be, because it does (growing up, I was always called the "mama" of my friend groups). But our world makes it really easy to only look out for yourself, and I see that most evident in myself in our marriage. I come home and think of all of the things Chris could be doing for me instead of what I could be doing for Chris, and that's just not fair to either of us.
On a broad scale, I 100% believe that if the inhale and exhale of our marriages is to serve the other that we would be much happier with our spouses. And not just in the ways you expect to serve going into marriage – it's the kind of serving in which you completely deny yourself. It's not of this world, and on the outside, it might make you bristle and question, "well, what about me? what about my benefit and my feelings?" But consider walking in this: What would your night look like if instead of giving him the cold shoulder because you're exhausted and he hasn't offered to help you, you showed him grace and continued to love? What would it look like if instead of throwing him under the bus in front of your friends about how he never takes the trash out, you took it out yourself and then turned around and found something that he does do well to praise him about in front of your friends? No expectations to get anything in return. Just offering grace and unchanging love. This is the life we're invited to live.
Now, I know I said to not have expectations of getting anything in return, but the truth is that you probably will...! When your spouse feels loved unconditionally and supported, more often than not that service will be returned with service. When you serve me, I want to serve you more. When you show your love to me, I want to show my love to you more. It’s how our nature works. Serving someone because they serve you is easy... but maybe it's time for you to start the serving. If you feel as if you aren't being served, wouldn't it make sense logically that it's up to you to do the serving? To show grace when you feel it's not shown to you? To love when you feel as if you aren't always loved first?
Awhile back, I read a post on Lesley Graham's blog about a book she had read. In the book, there was a challenge for wives to try and do special things for their husbands each day for two weeks. I think this is a perfect idea and something I'm going to take as a personal challenge. Some of her favorite ideas she shared were really simple:
- Make him his favorite meal. (not sure what that is? ask him!)
- Bring him a cold drink for no reason.
- Pray for him - ask him what he needs prayer for.
- Ask him what things make him feel disrespected. (and stop doing them!)
- Find out what he ranks most important – what his priorities are. Be understanding with his response.
- Kiss your man (like you mean it)!!
- Reflect on your dating days. Dress nicer than usual for him :) Don't be upset if he doesn't notice – in fact, feel free to tell him what you did and why and that it's because you love and respect him.
I would love to hear from you – how do you serve your man and make your marriage a priority?