In John 13, Jesus is eating a meal with the disciples, his closest companions in the last hours before being crucified. The disciples were having a conversation about which one of them was the greatest, after Jesus gave them the example of washing their feet. In that culture washing someone’s feet was a demeaning task, but the example that Jesus showed is that the greatest was the servant. Jesus does not condemn them for wanting to be great, he just flips it upside down. To be great is to be the servant. He introduces the idea that servant leadership is how you change the world. Followers of Jesus should have the heart of a servant. The disciples must have been stunned by both His example and His message.
As Christ followers, when we are around friends, among strangers, and especially within our marriages, we are to be servants. We are to put others’ needs ahead of our own.
A husband and wife who make the priority to selflessly serve one another have discovered the secret of a great marriage.
Why is serving each other so important in marriage? The heart of a servant will develop three qualities:
- Equality – Men and women are absolutely equal. No one is better than the other. Skills, intellectual or ability do not determine value. The heart of a servant toward your spouse or children says, “I am not better than you.” The goal is to serve with their needs and interest in mind not yours. God served us first by sending Christ to die for us.
- Humility – I think true humility is about knowing who you are. Not thinking to highly or to lowly of yourself. Your goal is to make a difference in the small things like folding clothes, doing the dishes, cleaning toilets, or watching the kids. Nothing is beneath you if it benefits your spouse. Your desire should be to be the chief foot washer in your home.
- Intimacy – In Matthew 6:21, Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where you invest your time, talent and money is where your passion will be. If you’re pouring all your time and abilities into your work, or your children, or your hobbies, that will become what you treasure most. First and foremost pour your passion into a relationship with Christ, then before your job, hobbies or kids pour your time and abilities into serving your spouse. If you make Christ first and your spouse second, your connection and intimacy will grow. Continually investing in each other will help you to stay passionate for each other, sharing your life and intimacy together.
The best marriages are made of two servants in love. Put each other first and you’ll discover the marriage of your dreams.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13, ESV