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One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as a married woman is how to serve and love my husband regularly and well, without expecting anything in return.
Before getting married I had a fairytale perception of marriage. On my wedding day I said, “I do”, but with a list of expectations tucked firmly away in the tulle of my wedding gown. The ulterior meaning of “I do” was “I get,” even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I looked forward to all the perks of marriage, but forgot that marriage is more than anything I receive; marriage is an act of service.
In our culture, the word “serve” has a bad connotation because to serve makes a person a “servant,” and no one aspires to be a servant. Add the context of marriage to the discussion of servitude, and more specifically a wife serving her husband, and we join the never-ending debate of wives and submission. However, for a Christian, being a servant is what Jesus calls us to do – especially in marriage.
Christian servitude in marriage does not imply that the roles of husband and wife are not equal. It also does not imply that wives should serve their husbands more than husbands serve their wives or vice-versa. We are each called to be servants to one another because Jesus was a servant, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)”. And serving others shows Jesus’ authority over our lives. “And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
Since this article is written for wives, here are 8 important ways you can serve and love your husband on a regular basis. The first four are things you can do for his spiritual growth. The others are more practical.
Praying for your husband seems obvious, doesn’t it? But how often do we intentionally pray for our husbands outside “Lord, protect him” or “Lord, change him”?
Our husbands are in a daily war as the enemy fights for their hearts and minds. From their workplaces to their social activities to their home lives, men battle an excruciating amount of temptation. Making wise, godly decisions in the midst of all their daily distractions is impossible without our intercession for the Holy Spirit to equip and guide them.
The longer you’re married, the more you realize that you’re married to a sinner (and that he married a sinner as well). It seems that the list of characteristics you want changed in your husband grows, sometimes without any evidence of improvement.
The most encouraging verse in the Bible for me as a wife is 1 Peter 3:1-2, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
My default is to try to get my husband to understand my point by explaining it to him again and again, reminding him of it, and nagging him about it. However, 1 Peter 3:1-2 explains that husbands are won over without words but by example.
I have found that this applies to conflicts in my marriage but also to habits that I wish would change in my husband. For example, I can’t expect him to eat healthier if I’m not eating healthy. However, instead of trying to convince him of his need to eat better, I motivate him through my example of eating better.
After we pray for our husbands and encourage them my example, we must remember that it is only God who changes a man’s heart. It is God who grows our husbands.
First Corinthians 3:6-7 says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
It’s tempting to make our husband’s growth about us and not about him and his relationship with God. We have to ask ourselves, do we want our husband to change so that his relationship with Jesus will be stronger or do we want our husband to change for our personal benefit?
Our motive should always be for our husband’s relationship with Jesus to grow stronger. Otherwise, it is a selfish motive. With this in mind, we must remember that God initiates change and growth and it is always in Him timing, not ours. Sometimes evidence of growth is slow. We may never see it at all. But we have to stay faithful in prayer and action, showing patience for what God wants to do in our husband’s life.
We can’t forget the definition of love. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
As long as we may have to pray for our husband and be an example for our husband, we can’t give up on him. We must be his biggest cheerleader and his biggest ally, in his journey towards fullness in Christ.
Before I was married, an older married friend told me she was going motorcycle riding with her husband. This intrigued me because my friend didn’t seem like the type of person who would like to ride motorcycles. So I asked her if she liked to go motorcycle riding.
She went on to tell me that she, in fact, did not enjoy riding motorcycles. But one thing she had learned in marriage is the importance of participating in the hobbies your husband likes to do.
For some reason this has always stuck with me, and now that I’m married I understand how true it is. When my husband is interested in my hobbies, I feel important to him. It’s proof that he wants to spend time with me.
Our husband feels the same when we participate in his hobbies. Participating in his hobbies is what makes our marriage a friendship.
Before bombarding your husband with the day’s news and issues while he was at work, give him space and time when he comes home to unwind from his day. Even prayerfully consider the best time to discuss important issues so that they don’t add unnecessary stress.
I am always surprised about how my attitude towards my husband changes when I speak well of him to my friends as opposed to when I complain about him or tear him down. Speak words of affirmation towards your husband with others because this affects your attitude towards him when you’re together.
Often. Every day tell your husband thank you for what he does for you and your family. Even if you don’t feel thankful, thank him anyway.
Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, www.TripleBraidedLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
SEE ALSO: 5 Types of Women That Make Bad Wives