Loving our Husbands or Ourselves?
Georgene Girouard.

Can you picture your precious Savior kneeling before you, gently taking your dusty, dirty feet in His hands as He begins to wash and then dry them? I can’t imagine a more humbling feeling than to have my Lord and master serve me. Peter obviously felt the same way for he questioned why His master would wash his feet. He still didn’t understand, even after Jesus had spoken to him that the first shall be last and he who wanted to be great must lay his life down to serve. To each of us as wives He has commanded of us the same. To laying down our lives for our husbands and family and to serve them in humble ways.
As I read this account in John 13, I was deeply moved by the love and humility of Christ. Verse three says that ‘Jesus KNOWING that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God.’ (my emphasis). He knew that he possessed a throne in heaven and earth was his footstool, but even though He knew His exalted state He bowed low and took on the form of a servant. When he finished washing their feet he said, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord: neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him".

Jonathan Edwards once wrote this about Jesus, "his love did not rest in mere feeling, nor in light efforts and small sacrifices, but though we were enemies, yet he so loved us. He gave up His own ease, and comfort, and interest, and honour, and wealth". This is our Jesus!! So opposite from our own flesh that wants things our way and life to be easy. Our death to selves will come daily, hour by hour, and minute by minute in the little things. Our ways, our opinions, our ideas of how things should be. This is where we will die and as we die the very life of Christ will be resurrected in our bodies. Praise His Blessed Name!

I don’t have a clear portrait in my mind of a servant. The closest example I can draw from is a waitress, nurse or a housecleaner. God’s word, on the other hand, is full of information on the duties and position of a servant. The meaning of the word servant in Mark 10:43 actually means ‘to run errands’ or to do menial duties. Here are a few of the things I found:

They are owned by someone (John 12:26)
* Bought with something valuable
* Employed in their masters work, not their own. (Jn. 2:5)
* Appointed to work- not idle
* They own nothing. Their children and wife, if given to them by the master , would stay with the master when the servant was set free. (Exodus 21:1-11)
* Whatever they receive is to be made use of for the master. This includes their talents, abilities and physical strength.
* He is not free to manage his own life. His day is planned by someone else. (Matt. 8:9)
* Does whatever he is told (Eph 6:5)

My heart was deceived for many years thinking because I was a homemaker that I was serving my husband. I felt that my responsibilities were fulfilled because I cooked his meals, served him drinks and goodies in his chair, made his special desserts, kept his house clean and took care of his children. But, heaven help him if he desired for me to stay home from a woman’s bible study that I had my heart set on, or to change my plans if he needed me to run errands for him. He became my ‘ mortal enemy’ set on ‘ruining and running’ my life. It became obvious that a lot of what I chose to do each day was because I felt it was important, not because he necessarily thought it was.

So, in practical terms, I have shared a few of the principles of serving that I have been trying to implement daily. Many of these have been taught to me by older godly women that have blessed my life.
1. I study how to please him. ( 1 Corinthians 7:34 )What is important to him? What makes him cranky? What has he had to ask of me more than one time? What makes him smile? What does he find attractive in other women? What does he compliment me on? These become the priority of my day. I once asked my husband to take a test where he ranked what he felt was important concerning the home, etc. My husband listed good meals, clean clothes and my appearance over everything else. So this became my goal for the day. You could do this by listing your main duties of the home, the way you dress and look, the meals you cook, how you schedule your day and then ask him to rate the top 3-5 in importance.
A. Meals: I started taking notice of what he enjoyed eating and tried to stop fixing what he hated. He hates spaghetti. We rarely ever have it unless he okays it. I buy the brands of food he likes, and I try to prepare it to please him. There are a hundred little preferences that make him happy and I am working on showing him my love by preferring him in these areas.
B. I make laundry one of my first priorities for the day and work hard at keeping his drawers and closet filled with clean clothes. I wash his clothes first.
C. Working on my appearance has taken some time. I love the "Little House on the Prairie" look. He , on the other hand, likes me to look ‘classy’. I love jumpers! He hates them and says that they remind him of a goat herder. I would prefer to wear no make-up, he prefers it. I like my hair in a simple bun, he prefers it curled and more modern looking. Since I am created for him and not myself, I am working on pleasing him in these areas. This has taken awhile to change because I don’t have the finances to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but I’m slowly trying to change the way I dress to please him. Another complaint has been my night ware. I found some Satin p.j.’s that were comfortable and on sale for half price, so I purchased 2 sets.
2.Die to my preferences, opinions and desires. This is a daily battle for me. I’m trying to learn to die in the little things. Some areas that I am working on is my desire of where I would like to go to church, my opinion on what I feel is best for my children if his opinion differs, my preference concerning the restaurant to eat or how to spend our days off. This doesn’t mean that I don’t lay my requests before him if I think they are important, but that I die to my way when it’s not an important issue or if he has said no. I have also had to ‘watch’ him carefully because I have seen in the past if I feel strongly about an issue, he will take a back seat to my opinion and allow me to lead the family in that area. I have seen the fruit of that and want no part of it.
3. The money and how it should be spent. Again, I give my opinion and then pray that God will give him wisdom to make the best decision. I try to stay within the amount of money he allots. I never buy large purchases without his consent.
4. Schedule for the day. My personal sin is that I plan out my day, what I feel needs to be , and my will dies hard if the plan is interrupted. I often forget that my goal is to serve and I place my focus on MY goals and schedule. I get ‘stressed’ or frustrated if he interferes with those plans. The Lord has been instructing me for several years that my husbands requests should be my plan for the day. I was given to him to be his helpmate, he has not been created to be mine. This is a daily battle of dying to myself. Psalm 16:5,8 has been life changing in this area. The principle that God is the one who has ultimately assigned me my portion for today. Just like the children of Israel, it may not be the portion that I want but He desires that I trust Him and take what comes from His hand without murmuring or complaining. He is teaching me to not "lean to my own understanding " (Prov 3:5-7) of what I think the day should be, but to acknowledge Him in all my ways and trust Him to direct my path. When my chest starts to get heavy from the stress and my breathing labored I know that I am not trusting him with the day. He then reminds me that I can trust Him with ‘my goals’. It has become a life of faith, instead of depending on myself. I have had to depend on him to make the time available to accomplish the work that needs to be done.

To take on the form of a servant , our reputation has to be laid aside. Many times our dearest friends and family members will not understand our desire to serve our husbands as Jesus served his disciples. They may remark that we are being a doormat. Phil 2:7 says that Jesus made himself no reputation. In other words He became lower than a doormat, He became nothing. A servant, in the actual description of the word, is not thought of as glorifying position.The meaning of the word servant in Mark 10:43 actually means ‘to run errands’ or to do menial duties. The Lord’s ways are not our ways and what we esteem as good are often of no value in His sight. Amy Carmichael in her book, "If" quotes, "IF the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love".

Let us learn of Him, dear sisters. Let us lay down our lives for our husbands in the truest sense of the word, in the seemingly little things for those little things over a period of time can become BIG THINGS. May our day be fashioned after our husbands heart, and not our own. Oh, that we would truly sacrifice to please him in the areas that are important to him. For when we have done it unto our husbands, we have truly done it for our Lord.

Copyright 1998. Georgene Girouard.