by Merritt on April 21, 2012

The letter “S” provided several options for today’s A to Z Challenge post: sharing, selflessness, sacrifice, support…but I decided to go with Serving, because it encompasses a little of all of those things.

“What do you do to serve him?” a friend asked me a few years ago when I was dating a new boyfriend. “Um. What do you mean?” I really had no clue. Should I be making him cookies once a week?

She explained her thoughts about relationships {especially marriage} being about “out-serving” each other. I’d always done nice things for boyfriends like making sentimental gifts, cooking and for some, I even did laundry. But now that I think about it, I probably did those things for ME rather than to serve him. {I mean, what guy really wants a homemade frame decorated with red and pink hearts!}

You see, my focus was all about me and my happiness. That’s how I gauged if a relationship was successful.

Now that I’m married, I think I understand a little better what my friend was trying to communicate. She was focused on the concept of being his “helpmate,” which makes a whole lot more sense to me in marriage than it does in dating. It’s not always about doing a bunch of stuff for him. Even though sometimes that’s what it looks like: cooking, laundry, cleaning {kind of} – but those are daily tasks we try to share so that one person doesn’t always carry the whole load.

Really, what serving looks like today involves asking the question, Am I putting him first? Or am I more concerned about my needs? Do I notice his weariness at the end of the day, when all I want to do is tell him how my day went? Am I aware of his love-language-need for physical touch, and am I responding in a loving, welcoming way? Have we recently had “shoulder-to-shoulder” time engaged in an activity he enjoys? What am I doing to encourage him and affirm all the ways he serves and cares for me?

Serving is not about balance, doing your equal share or even fairness…because that perspective is still self-focused. I think my friend was right. It’s about both of us doing whatever we can every day to care for the other.

How are you serving your spouse?

Photo credit: © Mark Aplet –

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody Watkins April 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for a great reminder to evaluate my focus in our marriage! Great post!


Merritt April 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thanks Jody!


Emily Ann Selden April 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I love how you put in your banner how the learning was painful, it was for me, as well. I read how to be a help meet by Debi Pearl and began to see just how much I was failing to serve. This post is a really good illustration on what it means to serve and how it can be painful for a self-centered person. Great to find you through A-Z! 🙂


Merritt April 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Hi Emily! I haven’t heard of that book, but I’m very curious now. Yes, it’s definitely been painful…especially since I really wasn’t aware of how self-centered I was/am. (I guess that’s part of being self-centered too.) Thanks so much for stopping by. I love your cute blog (just checked it out). I’ve been having a hard time with the fact that I’m never gonna get through that list of almost 2,000 AtoZ participants! So glad you found me so I could find you!


Emily Ann Selden April 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Here is a link to the book it is AMAZING:
It is important for every woman to read this book. The author’s husband created one for men that is awesome, too:
If you have never visited bulk herb store you are in for a treat, look around. Shoshanna is the Pearl’s daughter and she is wonderful–she graces the cover of the “Created to Be His Help Meet” book.
I definitely hear ya on the self-centered part–whew! it is a constant process. As far as A-Z, I am going through the same thing, trying to visit everyone and I am so behind! Great to connect with you. 🙂


Katy@OurSimpleLoveStory April 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

I love that you separated doing service-like tasks and actually serving, especially when it comes to the husband’s love language. My love language is gifts, so I’m always trying to find little things or do little things as a gift to my husband. I set aside the time and effort, but his love language is “affirmation”. It doesn’t matter what I do as much as what I say, and I’m not as careful with my words as I am with my actions. It’s definitely eye-opening.


Merritt April 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

There’s definitely an aspect of “service” with household tasks, but when I think about it that way, I’m more likely to compare and expect fairness than I am when I just think about what his heart needs. Our love language is different, too…definitely something to take note of since I have a tendency to think of myself and my needs first.


Sara April 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

Find 100 ways (to serve) is what I would like to do out of gratitude for my husband of almost 38 years. Unfortunately, I forget to be grateful sometimes–to my husband and to God.


Merritt April 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Wow Sara! 38 years is amazing! You two must be doing something right! Thanks for stopping by.


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