Matt and I were privileged to attend a weekend marriage seminar last weekend put on by FamilyLife.com. It was their video version, called The Art of Marriage. I’m so thankful our church hosted the event.
Marriage truly is an art, isn’t it? When we allow our Creator to sculpt our marriage, it is so beautiful.
One of the biggest lessons we heard over the weekend was not something new to us. And yet, it’s always good to be reminded about one of the key tools for making your marriage run smoothly.
The long and short of it (and Laura’s paraphrased and blunt version) of the lesson is this: Get over yourself already.
We shouldn’t get married to please ourselves. We should get married to serve the person we love the most. Ultimately, getting married means that you’ve chosen to become a loving servant to your spouse forever. And if children come along, you’re signing up to serve them forever too. Yep, years and years of serving others. Sounds tough…but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about letting go of yourself and choosing to serve cheerfully.
I thought it interesting that one counselor pointed out that we all say these vows to our spouse on our wedding day: “I promise to love, honor and cherish you until death do us part.” But what our hearts often mean is, “I want YOU to love, honor and cherish ME forever.” (And then we also expect our spouse to be able to read our mind so that they know exactly how they should perfectly love, honor and cherish us…but that’s another article for another day.)
No…when you got married, you promised to take care of and nurture your spouse. No matter what. Even when it isn’t easy. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re grumpy. Even when you don’t feel like it.
See, because your marriage isn’t ultimately about YOU.
If Jesus would have made his time on earth about HIMSELF, I’m very sure He never would have died for me and He certainly wouldn’t have healed all those sick, needy people that kept following Him everywhere. Why in the world would he? He may not have been in the mood…He may not have felt like it that day…He may have just needed some “me time”. But no…He chose to serve. He chose to love unconditionally. He chose to die. He chose to live for others, which praise God, includes you and me!
If you’re sitting there thinking, “Wow, she’s right. My spouse really needs to read this so he’ll/she’ll stop living for him/herself and serve me better” – Stop it. Consider yourself bonked on the forehead. :)
It could be that your spouse is selfish (I wouldn’t be surprised since you and I are both quite selfish in nature). Your needs may not all be met. You may be wanting more out of your marriage.
But your healthier, more wonderfully sculpted marriage begins with your choice to be a loving servant.
As soon as you stop living for yourself and really start focusing on meeting the needs of your spouse, your marriage will become more joyful. Your spouse may then become more of a loving servant to you as well.