A Servant’s Heart

images-8The presence of a “servant’s heart” tells you much about your mate. But the lack of it can be a real problem. If he or she is overly self centered, selfish, or inconsiderate of you and others—or if he or she always wants things his or her way, watch out! You may be in over your head and need to get some help.

A control freak—that’s what you’d call Steve. Married once before, this macho man saw his wife, Amy, as his servant, but not in the good sense. Every morning, he wanted his coffee while he showered. Every night, he wanted his dinner as soon as he got home from work and then expected to enjoy a night of watching sports while Amy caught up with the housework. Amy wanted to be a submissive wife, but his increasing demands and unkind manners became unbearable.

One servant in the family was one too few, and something needed to change. When Steve’s brother came to visit, Paul confronted Steve with how he was treating Amy. Fortunately, Steve listened to his big brother and learned to treat Amy with more respect and care. Though he still tended to be controlling, Amy found safety to speak up when it happened.

It takes two people serving each other to make a marriage healthy. Once you know a person’s heart, you will know who that person really is. This is often overlooked during courtship because we’re usually so enthralled with our own warm-fuzzy feelings of love that we tend to forget to deeply look into the heart. During courtship, we often put our best foot forward, masking the inner self. So if you’re dating, it’s critical to look past that outward show and discover who that person really is deep down.

That’s where perseverance comes in—and be sure to add a healthy dose of faith and hope. We’re all imperfect people, struggling to do our best—to love well, to work well, to be successful at whatever we do. We’re all a bit selfish sometimes; we’re often moody or insecure; we sometimes get angry or become a little inconsiderate.

But these should be the exception, not the norm. What you’re trying to assess before you marry is if your future mate has a pattern of negative, selfish or self-centered behavior, which will hurt your marriage…and hurt you. If some negative patterns are present after you marry, they must be evaluated carefully as to the seriousness and regularity, and then be weighed against the positive attributes. Then it’s wise to work on correcting them, whether through counseling, mentoring, or good old fashion communication.

What are some ways you serve each other in your marriage? I’d love to know.

Adapted from Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2013, all rights reserved.



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