Service in Marriage: Getting Practical

I have always been a little irritated by books or sermons or blogs that, on the one hand, deliver a powerful and convicting  message (“Stop being selfish! Serve your spouse like Jesus served us!”) but then leave me with the barest of practical applications (“So…go do better!!”)


Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just not imaginative enough. Or maybe I’m just really bad at taking theology and plugging it into my everyday life. Whatever the case, I always find it helpful to get some practical ideas for putting biblical truth into action.


So, like we did with the “respect in marriage” posts, we want to provide you with some practical applications for how to serve your spouse like Jesus served the people around him. The situations and subsequent responses aren’t meant to be totally prescriptive. Some may apply to your situation exactly and some may leaving you thinking, “Huh, I always knew Paul and Liz were weird.” : ) But that’s ok. If nothing else comes of these posts than a heart-to-heart conversation with your spouse, then we’ll consider the exercise a success. You’ve got to talk about this stuff to make a marriage work!


So here are a few situations in which your ability to serve your spouse will be tested. Today I’ll give the situations and we’ll answer them in the next post. Those bolded are from Paul, and those normal are mine.


Say your wife works at a hospital that is 40 minutes from the church where you works. Now say that she accidentally locks her keys in the car. Panicking, she calls you  and  relates  her plight. On the other end of the phone you are reviewing everything that you wanted to do that day. Shockingly, driving and hour and a half to unlock your wife’s car was not one of them. What would you do and how would you do it?


Say it’s Friday morning, the only morning you get to sleep in past 6:00. Now say your husband gingerly wakes you up to ask if you could help him get ready because he overslept. What would you do and how would you do it?


Say it’s Sunday afternoon and your husband, instead of helping you clean up the kitchen, announces that he is exhausted from the past few days and is going to take a nap. What would you think and what would you do?


Say you notice that your wife’s laptop is running a little slow and so you take the time to defrag it, clean out all the temporary folders and (just for kicks) you clean up her very cluttered desktop. She comes home, turns on her computer….and doesn’t even notice. What would you think and what would you do?


Say that your husband has been making subtle hints about the woefully few remaining sets of underwear he has in his drawer. Still, you just haven’t had time to get all the laundry done. Then you come home from grocery shopping to find that your husband has washed (and folded!) all his own laundry! What do you think and what do you do?




Say that you and your wife swap cars one day a week. You get increasingly frustrated at how she always seems to leave you with a near empty gas tank. And yet, each week you fill up the tank and leave her a full tank. Then one day you decide that you’ve had enough and drive her car until the gas light comes on and then park it in the driveway for her to drive the next day. What are you thinking and why? 


I’m sure that you could up with some similar situations from your own marriage : ) In the next post Paul and I will review what we did in each situation, and what we should have done instead.

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