In your marriage, do the little things

As Christ followers, we are following and learning from the One who came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).

Heather and I have been married for over 18 years now, and I still have moments where I don’t want to reflect that kind of attitude to my wife, who truly is my best friend.

  • I throw something in the garbage, and realize it is full and needs to be taken out, and yet I shut the door and act like I didn’t see it.
  • I walk past the laundry room and see clothes that need to be taken upstairs, but I just keep walking thinking someone else may do it.
  • I come in the house after a long, difficult day, and the last thing I want to do is wash dishes, do some laundry, or pitch in around the house.
  • We sit down in our living room to catch up and talk about our days, and I find myself really interested in what I have to say and what is on my heart, but then not actively listening when she is telling me about the challenges she had that day.
  • As I write this, there is a picture and mirror sitting in our bedroom that I literally see multiple times a day, and they are waiting to be hung up. Actually my wife is the one who is patiently waiting for them to be hung up.  It will probably take 5 minutes total.  Ah…the little things.

Can you relate?  And no, I’m not talking about your spouse, I’m talking about you.  Your heart.  Your attitude.  Can you relate to that selfish tendency in your heart that says, “You know, today, I’d like to be served.  I’ve served enough whether it at home, or work, or other people, and now that I’m with my spouse, I’d like to be served.  Spouse, bring me a goblet of something cool and refreshing.”

And if you haven’t had that fleeting thought yet in your marriage, or you’re engaged and you think it will never be that way, you’re lying to yourself.  A Christ-centered marriage will humble you, and expose the depth of your pride and selfishness in new ways.  It will force you to see your pride for what it truly is.  Sin…and sin when left to its own devices will lead to brokenness, hurt, strife, and destruction.

I want to challenge you and me to do the little things in your marriage.  Yes, we could apply this principle to so many other areas and relationships, but this time around, let it simply sit on heart if you are married.

Little things add up.  Like coins in a change jar, they grow.  And over the course of time, communicate generous love to your spouse.

Little things are humbling.  Changing the diaper, picking up the dog poop, taking out the trash, cleaning up your spouse’s mess.  Get over it.  The humbling will be good for your soul.

Little things should not be announced.  Take a lesson from Jesus, and be characterized by serving in secret (Matthew 6:1).

Little things are little ways we worship our God.  Serve your spouse for the glory of God.

To love one another for a lifetime is not just about the big things.  The birthdays, the holidays, the anniversaries.  Don’t get me wrong, those are important.  But please don’t neglect the little things along the way.  Loving our spouse is a full-time job, not a part-time one.

Jesus commanded us to love another.  John 13:34-35:  34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

And sometimes, if we are honest, we are prone to quickly love or be other-oriented with everyone, but the very people we are called to spend the rest of our lives with.

So, do the little things!  Notice the little things!  And love one another with the extravagant love that Jesus has loved us with!