Acceptance and learning are keys to a happy marriage.
When Jesus washed His disciples' feet, could you imagine Him saying: "Boys, line up! I have to splash water on your disgusting feet to make a point. I am doing this only because my Father wants me to do it. Hurry! Let's get this done."
In the Bible, not once do you see Jesus serving with a bad attitude. I think this is because He embraced His calling to serve humanity. Out of His acceptance, He had a good attitude in serving us humans.
Acceptance is a great attitude to have as a servant in a marriage. Acceptance is, "I am here to serve you," "I was created to serve you," "serving you honors God, myself, you and our future generations" and "I am a servant."
When you get to this level of acceptance you are going to really enjoy your marriage. You see, I am a servant before any other title I have earned or been given. "This is your servant, how can I help you?" This is what I want my children to learn from me in marriage. This is the DNA I want in my family tree for generations.
It is the heart of God to have servant children serving one another. When we accept this, the fight is over with man's fleshly issues that arise in and harm marriages.
Acceptance of being a servant is a freeing attitude. This attitude takes you into a lifestyle of humility and gratefulness in the process. For me, it was a process to be a servant rather than just being helpful here and there. I am a servant. It is not what I do, it is who I am as I have embraced and accepted that I am a servant. Another attitude of being a servant that I want to share with you is "learner."
When I am given a task or challenge, I want to do a great job with it. To do a great job—even if it is only a hobby—I have to learn and stay a learner. If we want to become awesome servants to our spouses, we have to continuously be learners of our spouses. When I remain a learner I can be a servant to Lisa throughout our marriage.
Marriage brings changes over the years. You move from apartment to house, to having children, having children in school, having kids in college, the children's weddings, grandchildren, aging and more. Each stage reassures us that as servants, we will grow, learn and adapt. The person we serve also changes. What they enjoyed as a young person (ice cream or vigorous exercise) might change as they age (salads and rest).
As a learner, you ask questions both about serving on the perimeter as well as serving the person. As I ask my wife about her and I learn about her. I ask her for her perceptions about the perimeter because she sees things I do not see, and vice versa. I keep learning. If you have an attitude of a learner and maintain it, you are guaranteed to grow in your calling and ability to fulfill the calling to service.
As a Christian you have an endless supply of patience, kindness, goodness and self-control flowing through your heart. God has not called you to serve your spouse for decades without fully giving you what you need to fulfill your unique and glorious mission.
Remember: The mission you have already chosen is long, challenging and full of joy, peace, ups and downs, and unpredictable events unique to your marriage and family.
You are not alone on your magnificent quest. You have God, the Word of God, an amazing spouse, your spiritual leaders, community, family, friendships and unlimited tools to read online and in books over the decades.
You can do this. You are a servant of the Most High God. As you travel faithfully decade after decade, hear the echoes of your Father God desiring to say words your heart longs to hear.
"Well done, you good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:21b).
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Servant Marriage. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com, on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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