Well, we gave you a whole week to talk about those marriage situations from this post. (As you might have guessed, our past few weeks have been nothing short of hectic. But thankfully, a period of calm is on the horizon : ) Hopefully you were able to enter into some lively conversations with your spouse as a result of the scenarios and questions we provided.
Here are the answers that Paul wrote in response to the situations that we gave you last week.
If you have to drive out of your way to unlock your wife’s car:
So she’s at the hospital and you are at work. And then this truth (perhaps one that you’ve always known) comes to mind: servanthood rots. Or to put it more lovingly, servanthood is rarely convenient. In fact it is usually inconvenient. The opportunities to serve your spouse will usually occur when you are tired, when you are stressed out, and when you have to do something like, drive 40 minutes out of your way (1 hour and 20 minutes in total). But, if you care to remember, you promised to love her in sickness and in health, and that includes when she’s forgetful. So that’s the nature of servanthood, get over it, or rather, get into it! Sometimes it’s as hard as dying (Phil 2:8).
When your husband wakes you up on your only morning to sleep in:
The perennial enemy of servanthood is self-pity. So, in this situation Liz might say, “don’t you understand that this is my only morning to sleep in?” Her thoughts could delve into the “I don’t deserve this…” or the “he’ll never know how tired I am?” or even “he’s so ungrateful.” And the sad thing is that she’s right. I don’t deserve someone to love and serve me. But serving isn’t about deserving. It’s about being like Christ in giving freely. It’s about not holding on to ones rights (Phil 2:6) and giving freely of oneself for the sake of others (Phil 2:3).
When your husband ends up doing the laundry that you weren’t able to finish:
Receive service graciously. Why is this such a difficult thing to do? Why is it easy to construe this situation into, “he thinks I can’t take care of the home!” or as some kind of judgment. Some spouses don’t like to feel weak or needy in their area of responsibility (ahem! Liz!). Whether you actually are weak or not, strive to let your spouse practice their faith and glorify God by serving you. Paul says later on in Philippians 4:17 “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
When your wife doesn’t notice that you fixed her computer:
Servanthood involves sacrifice for your spouse (as opposed to doing something that you yourself would find gratifying.) It’s very easy to inadvertently (not to mention “advertently”) do something for your spouse that they don’t care about. In these times, you should ask the question, “Am I doing this for them or for me?” Don’t pretend that it is for them if it is not. Instead do something from their repository of responsibilities. Some people hate filling the gas tank, some like to do the laundry, you have to figure out the person in order to know what will be a viable means of serving them.
Serve whether your spouse realizes it or not. You say “Okay, fine, but doesn’t the computer need defragging?” The answer is yes, and they will appreciate the slightly faster computer (though may not know the reason). However, your serving them shouldn’t be dependent on their realization of your service. You serve them because you’re serving Christ and not for their applause. Above all, don’t throw the service in his/her face and use it as a weapon. This will be really difficult when you’ve made it a point to do better in a certain area of service, and they accuse you of not understanding their needs.
When you decide to stop filling up the gas tank:
Don’t serve with evil motivations. There are several ways to do this. In this case, the husband is seeking to teach his wife a lesson by filling the gas tank up (e.g. “I fill up and so should you”). Others spouses seek to manipulate by their service perhaps saying something like ,”After all I’ve done, you should do this or that for me.” But we don’t serve to be served or to control our spouses. Serve for love’s sake or for kindness sake, but not for control’s sake.