I think that this chapter of Real Marriage has more potential to improve your marriage than any other chapter. On our first time through the Peasant Princess sermon series at Mars Hill, Julie and I found the idea of being a servant lover to be a profound shift in the way we think about sex and marriage. We have written about this idea many times before and it continues to alter the way we treat each other.
The biggest obstacle to serving our spouse is pride. Driscoll says, “Without humility we simply cannot serve in an ongoing and loving manner. The Bible says that pride is an enemy and that humility is a friend that allows us to live for God’s glory and thereby love and serve others rather than use and abuse them.” (p. 158) Pride is the default mode of the human heart and marriage is intensive training in humility and service to another.
Julie has said, “You are your spouse’s only lover… You are the only one to fill that role. Do it well. Become more thoughtful, caring, giving, and adventurous. Look for ways to serve each other in the bedroom. Discuss what you want to try and be open-minded.” (from our Week 6 discussion)
A covenant relationship is based on the idea of mutual submission. In other words, a husband loves and leads his wife and his family well by putting their needs first. When it comes to giving up rights and privileges, he goes first. He sacrifices first, he apologizes first, he serves first. That’s what it means to be a Christ-like leader and servant of your family. On the flip side, a wife loves her husband and her family best by putting their needs first. When both a husband and a wife serve each other, putting the needs of the other ahead of their own there is some sweeeeet fellowship (if you know what I mean :))
Where this breaks down is when you have one person serving and the other person insisting on being served. Two givers create a balanced and healthy marriage. There is give and take. Mistakes are made and forgiveness is granted and received. When you have a giver and taker however, that is not healthy. That is abuse.
Statscan says that 43 percent of marriages are expected to end in divorce before the couple celebrates their 50th Anniversary. While there are biblical grounds for divorce, selfishness, plain and simple, is the primary cause of marriage failure. The painful truth is that most marriages that end, end because one person or both refuses to address selfishness in the relationship.
Selfishness begins in childhood. Parents who raise a child to think that they are the center of the universe are raising someone who will have great difficulty in marriage. A child who is appeased and coddled their whole life will enter marriage thinking that their spouse will simply pick up where their parents left off. The honeymoon will be startlingly brief and some hard, difficult lessons will begin. Those of us who are parents owe it to our kids to help prepare them for adulthood and marriage by training them to serve their families. Serving your siblings and parents is good preparation for adulthood and if they get married later in life, they will find service natural and your new son or daughter-in-law will thank you.
Driscoll quotes Mark 10:43 where Jesus says, “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.” Jesus came to be a servant! If he didn’t feel entitled, you and I probably shouldn’t either. Jesus is our Lord and Master but He is also our best example in how to love our spouse.
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