Recently, Debbie and I have been arguing over who should do the grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, and other routine stuff.
…she insists on doing it,…not the other way around. I’m being totally serious, here. We argue because I want to help and she won’t allow it.
The truth is, my wife serves me a lot. I don’t ask her to. I don’t demand it from her. She just does it, and never begrudgingly. She gets uncomfortable when I do the laundry, for example, because she sees it as one of the ways she loves me. She seeks to make my life more comfortable by serving me in a variety of ways; and in so doing, she sets the bar very high.
I know, I know. What a great problem to have, right? Well, the temptation is (if I’m not careful) learning to like it a little too much and losing sight of my true calling – to give myself up for her just as Christ did for the church.
The answer, however, isn’t to prevent her from serving me. And it certainly isn’t to allow it to create conflict between us. The answer is (due the high quality of her self-sacrifice) to make sure I’m not only matching her efforts in my own way, but also exceeding it – or at least trying to.
What I’m saying is this:
A good marriage is the combination of giving and receiving, and consists of two people trying to out-serve one another.
Consider these words:
Holy matrimony, like other holy orders, was never intended as a comfort station for lazy people. On the contrary, it is a systematic program of deliberate and thoroughgoing self-sacrifice. A man’s home is not his castle so much as his monastery, and if he happens to be treated like a king there, then it is only so that he might better be enabled to become a servant. For marriage is intended to be an environment in which he will be lovingly yet persistently confronted with the plainest and ugliest evidence of his sinfulness, and thus encouraged on a daily basis to repent and to change.
-Mike Mason in his book, The Mystery of Marriage
When I approach my home as my monastery (and by monastery, I mean a place where I’m serving God and serving my wife) rather than my castle, then a few shifts occur that we should all consider:
1. Resist laziness. Don’t get me wrong, my home is restful and comfortable. I definitely have my fair share of creature comforts to go along with my service-minded wife. I love coming home, and I never want that to change, nor do I think it should. But as a husband, “home” is not only the place where I go to get comfortable, rest, and recharge,…but its also the place where I become uncomfortable by putting my wife’s needs before my own.