Have you ever been engaged in a heated debate with your spouse and all the sudden it turns into a review of the most recent things that each of you has done for the other lately?
If you are like most couples, you have experienced this phenomenon at some point in your relationship. Why do we do it?
Is there a rule book of marriage somewhere that states that each spouse must keep a running record of what you do for each other or for the household? There is no written rule but, when we get our feelings all bunched up in a wad, the list seems to magically appear. It is almost like playing a video game and you stumble upon some ammo packs when you're on your last magazine clip. The next thing you know, you look like Rambo firing openly about all of the things you have done for the other.
Do we really feel like our marriage relationship is always going to be equal amounts of give and take? Are we only serving our spouse's needs in an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" type fashion?
If we only do things for our spouse so that they will do something for us in return, we have the wrong attitude. That would be an example of self-serving.
If you find that you have become a score keeper in your marriage, it might be time to reflect on some higher relationship goals. Throw that scorepad away and serve each other out of love. Each of you has different needs that you want to be met. The expectation for fulfilling those needs will probably vary in reality, like so many other things in life.
Focusing on our own needs will only leave us feeling empty and lacking. Let us chose to follow the example of Christ in our relationship and abandon our own wants, needs, and desires, and focus on meeting the needs of our mate.
Personally, I feel the greatest joy when I have served my wife well and know that I have met her deepest needs. The look on her face when I know that I have really done something that has touched her heart in a way that she won't forget brings me so much more joy in my life than having my personal needs met. Do this often and freely enough with each other and no one in the relationship will suffer. The joy comes from serving, not from being served.
I know that there are those who may feel like they are doing this and their spouse gives nothing in return. This is certainly a real situation that people struggle with. What if my spouse never meets my needs? If you are a believer in Christ, how does He feel when we do nothing for Him? He gave all, including His life so that we could live free from the bondage of sin and death and have life eternally with Him. Yet we continually reject Him and pursue our own selfish desires.
Does He abandon us in search of a new person that would appreciate the gift He has given? He remains constant in His love for us and never changes His mind about it.
Galatians 6:9 NLT
So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.
If we focus our efforts on doing what is right, God promises a harvest from our labor if we don't give up. As a husband, I have a God-given mandate to love my wife as Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25-33). He didn't write in a pass for me if Heather doesn't respect me. I'm bound to my covenant with her that I made before God and men. My marriage has never suffered due to my acting according to God's commands. It has suffered when I acted outside of it and sought selfish goals.
Our messages are aimed at helping average Christian married couples who are struggling with their relationship and seek to find biblical ways to improve. We are NOT talking about toxic relationships where a spouse is being abused and is in danger.
If you are in a relationship and your life or the life of your children are in danger due to abuse, get out and get help immediately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you get to safety.
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or
1-800-787-3224 (TTY) for Deaf and har of hearing