I have had a lot of time in the car the past few days, and I actually enjoy those moments away from the office when I can listen to podcasts in between stops.
I have a small set of podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis: The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe, the Dave Ramsey Show, Focus on the Family, and I used to enjoy Planet Money but like everything it has turned political and was dropped from my list today.
Focus on the Family had special guests Gary Smalley and his wife, Erin, on yesterday, celebrating Valentine's Day, and I had to note a few tidbits of wisdom they had about marriage.
The first was, "Never ask the question, 'How can I have a better marriage?' because that focuses on the other person. Instead, ask, 'What can I do to be a better husband/wife?'"
I think on Valentine's Day and anniversaries, we always hear that we're supposed to have a talk with our spouses about "How can we improve our marriage?" Usually, that includes telling the other person how they can be better. How often do we look at ourselves and actually note how we can instead serve our spouses better?
I actually do try to intentionally look at life in a way that I illuminates areas I can improve in, but on those days when I don't try to intentionally do that, my go-to is to blame my husband.
It's something small, but I remember thinking the other night that instead of asking my husband what he wanted to drink with dinner that I would pour my own glass of water, and he was a big boy, so he could get what he wanted himself. By the time I got into the kitchen, I realized that was a selfish way of thinking and I wouldn't want him to do that to me, so I did ask him, although he still ended up pouring his own milk.
Often, I am doing really well at serving my husband, and then it might come up in a conversation with our friends that I fix his plate and often bring it into the living room where we usually eat dinner. If they laugh, my first reaction is pride that I serve my husband, but later it comes up when I'm making plates, "Yeah, why can't he serve himself?"
The answer is, he can. He's a grown man. He could even cook himself dinner. We could each fix our own meals and eat when it was convenient. I don't have to wait for him to get home from work, and the nights that I get home late, he doesn't have to wait for me.
We could also go to bed when we're tired, even if that means going to bed at different times.
We could completely take care of our own needs and let the other person take care of theirs.
But that's not what marriage is about. That's not partnership. Marriage is about serving each other. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, and Christ served the church. He made himself low and in return was made the highest of high. We are to follow his example and make ourselves low in our marriages, to serve our spouses, and in return, we will be the greater.