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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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Me First . . . to We First!
One of the scariest things about marriage, for me at least, is realizing that this holy union can reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly inside of me . . . Without fail, my relationship reveals the state of my heart. What’s inside my heart has a way of coming out through my actions—even my verbal and non-verbal communication patterns affect my efforts in having a great marriage.
Ephesians 5 has given us this picture of a godly home in which husbands and wives have their own roles. We strive to function within God’s design of how marriage works, but I have to admit I am always on my own mind. After working hard all day, I want to be served, and deep in my core I somehow believe I deserve it! Forsaking what I know to be true in God’s Word, I put myself first, above everyone else . . . and this can cause havoc in any home, marriage, or relationship.
Truth be told, we all have needs, and ignoring them doesn’t help anything. But imposing my needs on my spouse and assuming she must meet all of them is a recipe for disaster! One of the most awkward conversations Priya and I had early on in our relationship was about this very topic.
You have to ask yourselves some hard questions: “How are we doing?” “Are your desires being met in our relationship?” How am I meeting your needs?” “Where am I missing it?” “Do you feel fulfilled in this relationship?” “How can I love you better?” Even harder is discovering the answers to these questions in real time as you pursue each other. And it’s not enough to just ask the questions, we must also pursue, study, and discover the answers every day in our marriages.
Over the years, Priya and I have discovered so many things about each other. Although we change over time, we both have a pretty good idea of what makes the other person tick. The real question is this: Will we prioritize each other to the extent that we lay down our individual desires to serve each other? Growing out of a “me first” mindset into a desire to put your spouse second only to God will help you find the “we first” mindset.
“We first” is this wonderful sweet spot in marriage. Maybe you have gone through seasons of serving your spouse, like caring for your spouse during a season of sickness or difficulty when you know you must serve without expecting anything in return. Maybe you even sensed the peace of God reminding you of the same mindset He took on as our Savior, leaving the glory of heaven to die for you and I. We must serve in that way all the time! Within that mindset of service there is a synergy when you both begin to serve at the same time, placing your marriage as a priority. When “we” is more important than “I” or “me,” you will discover that serving your spouse is actually serving yourself because you are one.
The synergy of service in marriage is a place of strength and renewal—not just for your marriage, but also for the gospel. Your love for your spouse can impact someone in a significant way; without words your marriage can point people to God. Or, your lack of love can be an impediment to someone seeing Christ in you. Remember, God created marriage. In a world where marriage is disposable, we as the church must remember the sanctity of this God-ordained union. We cannot treat what God has given us as a throwaway item.
We will all struggle in this at times. There are seasons Priya and I get this right and other times when we simply miss the mark. If you are struggling today, serve your spouse. Serve your spouse like Christ served the church, expecting nothing in return. Make a commitment today that as your spouse walks through the door, remember their desires, and put the “we” way before the “me”! Prioritize your spouse and release hurts that might be wedged in your heart. Let a fresh start be the catalyst that begins a new chapter in your marriage. Let the change begin with you, and watch God do the rest!