By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Marriage is about love, companionship, and intimacy; it is also a partnership. When you said "I do," you committed to partner together in creating a home for your family that reflects God's love and holiness. Practically, this partnership is lived out through our service to one another.
Galatians 5:13 says, "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love." God calls us to give our lives away in loving service to one another. The most important place we can take on the posture of a servant is in our homes and marriages. This is the work that is closest to our hearts and has eternal value!
Servanthood requires humility, thoughtfulness, kindness, and it requires us to be present in our homes. We cannot be aware of the needs of our spouses without first choosing to be present and engaged in our daily lives. We need to have eyes to see the ways that we can be there to support and love each other with our actions.
Practice zooming into the moment and being there to love and laugh with your family. It's also important to take time to zoom out and think of the big picture. For example, if you are going on vacation to have an enjoyable time, it's essential that you first pack all the essentials. Then you take time to help gather everything required for your trip. This is a great way to serve your spouse and family.
Zooming out helps you see what is needed to be most present in whatever situation you are in. To be fully engaged in the moment, some planning and preparation are almost always required. Serve your spouse by sharing some of that planning and prep load. Then, when the moment comes to enjoy each other, you can fully zoom in and be free to take in the moment.
What Are Acts of Service?
Serving each other looks like thinking beyond yourself and taking your spouse's needs into consideration. An act of service can be something as simple as packing the diaper bag for your wife, holding a door open for your full-handed husband, or offering to do the dishes after a long day. It is simply just taking time to help with tasks in a loving way that need to be completed in your daily lives together.
Acts of service are one of the most practical ways to show your love to your partner. Our days are packed full of tasks that have to be done; when we think about each other and how we can work to lighten each other's loads, it is a powerful way to show each other that you care. Our service can be things we anticipate for our spouses, or it can be having a willing attitude when our spouse enlists our help with a task (rather than getting grumpy when they ask for your cooperation).
Being a loving servant requires a positive attitude. When we begrudgingly step up to help, it will be very hard for your spouse to feel loved and cherished by your actions. You must lovingly engage with both your actions and your attitude to be a good servant to your partner.
How Do You Love Your Spouse Whose Love Language is Acts of Service?
Ultimately, every one of us benefits from being in a relationship where you are mutually willing to serve each other lovingly. We all can use a helping hand, even if we aren't people who list "acts of service" as one of our love languages. Service is an essential part of expressing love.
When our spouse tells us that acts of service are one of their love languages, it's really important that we take time to pay attention to how we can step up and be helpful in their daily lives. Communicate clearly about their expectations when it comes to tasks that need to be tackled in your home. They may likely have higher expectations of how involved you should be if service is how they best receive love.
A great way to express love would be to jump in and take care of pressing needs for or alongside your spouse. If the house needs to be cleaned before friends come over, take the time to begin the cleaning process well before their arrival. If the kids need a bedtime bath before you can sit down and relax at the end of the day, volunteer to be on bathtime duty so your spouse can relax a little earlier tonight.
Meals are a job that never ends - bring home dinner, so your spouse doesn't have to spend the evening cooking and cleaning up. We don't have to do all of these things every day, but it is important that we make service to one another in some fashion a daily priority for our marriages.
Along with the acts of service, we must remember to express our gratitude for the love and help our spouses offer us. If your spouse values service, then they probably show their love most easily by serving you. Take time to express how thankful you are that they are willing to use their time and efforts to take care of you. I promise your words of thanks will make their hearts swell with delight!
How Do You Show Acts of Service When Long Distance?
Service isn't always cleaning! Service can be a thoughtful gesture delivered even from a distance. If you and your partner are separated due to work or other circumstances, you can still find ways to serve them. Taking care of your home while one of you is away is a gift to your partner all on its own.
Serving your spouse by making sure they have the support they need while you are away is a wonderful way to show love even when not in the same place. If you are out of town for work, arranging a meal to be delivered to your spouse is now as easy as downloading an app and selecting a meal to be brought to your door.
Thinking of ways to bless your partner who may be carrying more of the load due to your absence is a significant way to show them that you love them. Deployments or work travel can strain a marriage but choosing to thoughtfully and creatively serve one another through these periods is a powerful way to nurture your relationship through these trying seasons.
1 Peter 4:10 says, "God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." Use the gifts and talents God has given you to lovingly serve your spouse! Those gifts are what attracted them to you in the first place. Be a good steward of your gifts and marriage by pouring yourself out as a blessing to your husband or wife.
Photo credit: ©Getty images/ilona75
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.