I recently wrote on the importance of continually growing in understanding of your spouse. Your commitment to that by building good communication skills is absolutely essential for a marriage than not only goes the distance, but just gets better.
The next step beyond just gaining a clearer understanding of your spouse is this: choosing to elevate the needs/wants of your spouse above your own. Putting the needs of the other first.
We all have the tendency to want what we want.
Let me illustrate this by speaking to husbands.
Guys, the New Testament book of Ephesians chapter 5 tells us that Christ established the husband as “the head of the wife”. At first glance, that sounds like a good deal filled with perks.
The reality is that Jesus taught and modeled servant leadership. It’s more about responsibility than privilege.
And it means as a loving, Christ-like husband, you don’t make decisions unilaterally. It means considering your spouse’s input valuable enough to solicit it and take it seriously.
My Bad: The Red Truck
Fortunately, Gail and I haven’t made many major financial mistakes. But the few that we have made, it was on me for not taking her input into consideration seriously enough.
Before we moved to Wisconsin to take over as pastor of a small church, we only had one car. Our living situation in Wisconsin was going to require a second one. I convinced myself that we would need a 4-wheel drive pickup.
One afternoon, I spotted a shiny red pickup at a used-car dealership. I swept Gail over there that night to give her my pitch. She had reservations—serious ones. But in my enthusiasm I persisted and she reluctantly acquiesced.
That truck was a constant money pit. After I’d sunk hundreds of dollars into it over the next couple of years, I finally sold it—and, of course, for a big loss.
I would never say I didn’t value her input—yet my actions had said just that.
That was my bad. And I’m not the first husband to fail in this way.
Serving One Another
But this mindset of consideration goes both ways, ladies. A strong marriage is built on an attitude of serving the other, not fighting for our own way but fighting to out-do the other in putting the other’s needs, feelings, and input first.
Gail actually was the poster child for consideration in the previous example. She considered my wants above her own after making her opinion known.
She shares with other wives these examples of how she’s worked at developing of habit of putting me first in our marriage:
- Making our time together a priority instead of allowing our kids or other outside responsibilities or opportunities to supercede.
Happily meeting my needs and desires on the homefront: whether that be in maintaining our home, fixing what I like for dinner, taking care of myself, or other things (she normally winks discreetly at this point).
We’ve learned that when we make the other the priority—we both win!
Take a moment and consider how you might show consideration to your spouse today—and even better, how to make that a habit. Then tell your spouse sometime today, “I’m going to do even better in considering you and putting you first place.”
Question: What do you do regularly to show your spouse consideration by putting his/her needs first place? Share your answer in the comments below.