Being Servanthearted in Your Marriage

The kids’ backpacks lay scattered on the table. A load of laundry resting on my bed needed to be folded, and it was time to head to the kitchen for dinner prep. Resentment welled in my heart. “Why can’t anyone notice what needs to be done around here and just do it? Why is there endless work in this house? I’m tired and overwhelmed. When is someone gonna serve me?”

My love language is acts of service. I feel loved and cared for when someone does something for me. One could unload the dishwasher, pick up a package at the post office, or fold a load of laundry.

Managing our home with five kids meant endless tasks of serving. I loved keeping a home, but sometimes, I resented the fact that no one was serving me. I wanted someone to notice something and do it for me. The kids all had chores, so we shared nightly kitchen cleanup and Saturday house cleaning. That felt fair. But still, I longed for someone to serve me.

Imagine my shock when my husband returned from a men’s retreat and said, “The Lord convicted me that I need to serve you since you’ve spent 25 years serving me.” I was dumbfounded and delighted. Eleven years ago, my hubby started serving me daily by preparing breakfast for me every morning.

We’re not talking cereal or a piece of toast here. He has perfected breakfast making. He prepares frittatas of every kind, breakfast sandwiches, fancy avocado toast, and roasted tomatoes with poached eggs. He’s constantly looking for new fanciful breakfast ideas. We prepare a fantastic Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise. All this from a guy who rarely cooked. When the kids were young, he’d flip pancakes on Sundays, but that was the extent of it.

This is his extravagant gift of service, and I feel cared for. What a simple gesture to fill my love tank. Every morning, when he brings me my breakfast, my heart swells.

This breakfast-making has led him to become my sous chef for our empty nest dinners. He does all the chopping, and I cook. What an impactful way to connect at the end of each day. We process our workdays together. We serve each other well in these moments as we create emotional intimacy through conversation. Romance starts in the kitchen, not the bedroom, ladies! Invite your hubby to help and see what happens. (You can thank me later.)

In the empty nest, we try to out-serve each other. It’s comical and lovely. It’s become one tangible way to express our love and devotion for each other.

We all long to be served, don’t we? It feels good to be taken care of.

Sometimes, we struggle to serve our spouse, or we become resentful when they aren’t serving us. Servanthood is a cornerstone for the Believer, and the heart of Christ displayed to us. Imagine how strong our marriages would become if we served each other well.

In the upside-down kingdom of God, all disciples are called to serve. Greatness is ushered in as we go low in our marriage. When we serve, we honor the Lord.

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord. Christ.-Colossians 3:23-24

When we serve in our marriages, we’re not only serving our spouse; we are ministering to the Lord. As you pack a lunch for your spouse, God is honored. When they clean the bathrooms on Saturday morning, it’s not just a weekly chore; it is worship. This mindset helps us grumble less and appreciate that every mundane task is a way to honor God. In doing so, we receive the inheritance of God.

Three ways to serve your spouse in marriage:

  1. Ask your spouse what they need.

You may have one idea of how your spouse wants to be served, but what if that’s not what they want? The most straightforward way to find out is to ask them. When our spouses articulate what they need, then we simply provide it. This isn’t about you. It’s about what they need in the relationship.

  1. Be a student of your spouse:

We can learn a lot by observing our mates. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes. Observe their behavior, communication style, and energy level throughout the day. These will provide clues to how you can help them.

  1. Don’t keep score:

The surest way to become embittered is to keep a running tally of how you’re caring for each other. If you have an attitude that believes you will only serve when you’re served, you will miss out on much good in your relationship.

When we let love lead, it’s easy to serve our mates. It’s an overflow of Christ’s love flowing in our hearts. Try gently asking your spouse what they need, be a careful observer, and don’t make servanthood a competition.

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