I have a friend who calls certain challenges, "Opportunities to serve." What if we really thought of the challenges ahead of us, you know, those things we'd really rather put off another week or never do, as "opportunities to serve?"
Maybe listening to your spouse has become one request after another. If marriage feels like a list of to-do tasks, stop! Or, should I say, start! Don't let your marriage turn into a laundry list of chores. Learn to prioritize your spouse's request and get it done. Here's one idea for how to listen to your spouse and dare I say it, "see the opportunity" in front of you.
"…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." —Matthew 20:28
How to listen to your spouse
Early in our marriage, our microwave broke and I bought a replacement…four months later. That was four months of us taking forty minutes to warm up leftovers in the oven. Four months!
More recently, our air conditioner went out when it was 95 degrees. I took a week to get it fixed because I was “getting quotes to save money.” Marilyn was unimpressed as she climbed a ladder to put screens on our upstairs windows to avoid a repeat of a bat flying in our bedroom. Now, it didn't help my case that I was staying in an air-conditioned hotel room on a ministry trip during this entire time.
Are you sometimes more responsive to others than your own spouse? We can be excited and quick to serve others, but complacent and slow to serve in our own homes.
What's the last thing your spouse asked you to do? Maybe it's simple, like take out the trash or get change the air filter in the house. Maybe it's something that'll take the weekend. Here's your challenge: see the thing your spouse needs doing as an opportunity to show your love for your spouse.
This may be your unique time to heed the counsel of Howard Dayton. He says, “When your spouse asks you to do something, view it as an opportunity to serve.”
Do you really know how to listen to your spouse?
Ask yourself the following questions to see if you're really listening to your spouse:
- Do I prioritize the requests of my spouse?
- Do I view the requests as an opportunity to serve?
- Am I quick to respond and help my spouse?
- Does my spouse feel prioritized over others by the way I serve?
- Does my spouse have to ask me over and over to get me to do something?
Grace Marriage Mission
- Ask your spouse, “what one thing could I do for you today that would be helpful?” Then, follow through and repeat the process.
- Listen closely for requests from your spouse, write them down, and be quick to serve.