There’ a famous line from the Disney movie Bambi, where the little rabbit, Thumper, explains what his mother taught him: “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Good advice for those that naturally say the wrong things.
Another way to look at this would be to purposefully look for something nice to say. This requires a bit of work, but there is always something nice that can be said about someone.
The same holds true for our actions – especially in marriage.
In many marriages, the husband and/or wife have selected the option of doing nothing, often in fear of doing something wrong. While it may feel safer, the “do nothing” routine will not enhance the relationship nor enrich the marriage.
So what if instead, a husband or wife purposefully looked for ways that helped their spouse? Such actions are referred to as Acts of Service.
The Value of Service
As a differentiating value, Service means an act of help or assistance; work that benefits another.
Note that service has nothing to do with oneself. It’s all about someone else. If you are deriving benefit from what you doing, then it’s not an act of service.
I referenced Acts of Service in a previous post, from the book “The 5 Love Languages,” written by Dr. Gary Chapman. Service in marriage demonstrates that what your spouse does matters, especially if it eases the burden of responsibility.
The hard part of embracing service as a value is knowing your spouse’s needs or wants. You might be wrong. It might backfire.
However, ignoring the value of service in marriage is like putting money in a mattress instead of investing it into something that generates guaranteed returns. These are major missed opportunities.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider the value of service in marriage. It’s more than simply being nice.
But what if you are feeling stuck on where to start?
A few items to get started
Here’s an initial list of acts of service that may help show your spouse how much you appreciate them:
1. Vacuum the floors (or better yet, the stairs)
2. Do the dishes (or unload the dishwasher)
3. Replace light bulbs (or batteries) that no longer work
4. Fix the squeaky doors (a little WD-40 goes a long way)
5. Clean the windows (inside and out)
6. Wash (or vacuum) the car
7. Change the air (or water) filters in the house
8. Make the bed(s)
9. Buy the groceries
10. Make dinner
11. Find a lost article (e.g. car keys)
12. Fix something that is broken (making things work, again)
13. Do the errands you committed to do (on the day you promised)
14. Gather information (research) on a topic that’s important to your spouse
15. Return items to the store (that need to be returned)
Service in marriage is about doing. The benefits to your spouse might be peace of mind, a happy heart, or other intangible items. They are all valid.
Note, offering to do something is nice, but is worth ZERO points in the book of service. Only the actual act of doing something that benefits your spouse has merit.
So the next time you perceive your spouse would appreciate some help, don’t wait, don’t ask, just get up and go do something about it. You’ll be amazed at how this will enrich your marriage.
What other ways can you demonstrate the value of service in marriage?