4 Ways to Serve Your Spouse with Love
By: Amanda Idleman
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” - Galatians 5:13
Service is a beautiful concept that is tricky to live out well. In our marriages, we can serve each other in ways that actually turn out to be more harmful than helpful. For example, stepping in to help your spouse without first asking what your partner thinks about a situation.
Our service can sometimes feel more like a lesson than a gift. Have you ever stepped in to “help your spouse do something” all the while narrating exactly why this is the best way to complete the task? It’s hard not to take your “service” as a jab.
Other times, we face seasons where we feel like we are giving and giving but our efforts are going unnoticed by our other half. We can begin to grow resentful and begin to burnout. How then do we follow the command from the Bible to “serve one another with love”?
1. Practice Daily Gratitude
Psalm 118:29 tells us to give thanks to the Lord along with so many other passages of Scripture. If we don’t want to get bogged down in feelings of wondering when we will get the applause, we think we deserve in our relationship, then we have to daily resolve to focus our minds on what we have to be thankful for. A thankful heart is a joyful one! Psalm 11:2 encourages us to serve God with gladness! A key to serving well is serving with a grateful and joyful heart.
2. Commit to the Sabbath
God pauses on the seventh day to rest. He made rest a part of his 10 Commandments. He instructs the Israelites to let their fields rest on the seventh year. Rest is something we are commanded to do throughout the Bible and yet most of us don’t think of our hurried lives as sinful ones. Busyness is actually prized. When talking to friends we nearly brag about our HUGE workloads, overscheduled kids, and disconnected marriages.
Rhythms of rest in our lives are essential to being ones who serve God and others with the fruits of the Spirit. Tired people are not patient, kind, self-controlled, joyful, and so on. They are short, rude, in a hurry, and overwhelmed. If we want to be capable of “serving others with love” then we have to take God’s commandment to take a Sabbath seriously.
3. Serve Using Your Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 12 lists out a set of spiritual gifts. We each have been gifted with unique passions, talents, knowledge, wisdom, and so on. The unique nooks and crannies of who we are have a purpose; and that purpose according to Paul is to serve others and the body of Christ.
We are so much more effective in our service when we are serving by doing something we already love and are equipped to do. For me, I could write all day and not feel taxed because words on a page energize my soul. For others, organization gets them jazzed! For another music is their life’s passion. Whatever your situation, bring what you love doing into it. This isn’t selfish, this is God’s design.
When we serve others with our God-given talents, our service feels a little more like you just doing what you love and a lot less like draining yourself. If you aren’t sure what your talents or passions are then take some time to reflect on what gets you most excited in life. Ask those who know you best when you shine the brightest. That’s most likely where your spiritual gifts lie.
4. Serve Alongside One Another
Galatians 5 says to “serve one another in love;” the “one another” implies that service should happen together as a team. Anytime we start giving all on our own, our energy gets drained fast. We need others to pour back into us words of love and encouragement when our tanks start getting empty. Have each other’s backs as you work to serve your family, friends, and community.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says it so well: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It’s our job to be connected to one another, loving one another, and spurring each other on to do the good work that God has for us!
How do we serve with love? We invite the Holy Spirit to give us the strength we need to do the things He has called us to do on a daily basis. We have all heard that catchy chorus “Jesus take the wheel” but that’s kind of the only way it works. It can’t be about us being perfect at everything for those we love, or about us having the right answers when problems arise. We only are able to “serve one another in love” when we continuously invite God’s power to work in and through our lives.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
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