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.

© Mark Aplet 197402 XS 300x200 Serving“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 –

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