Last Friday I posted about “Our Valentine’s Day.” This Friday, it’s normal people Valentine’s Day. In light of the current lovey-dovey hub bub I have been thinking a lot about Will and I’s relationship (and relationships in general).
I tried to describe several values and outlooks on life that Will and I hold as core values for our relationship. None of my opinions on relationships are gospel truth; I’ve only been with Will for 3 years. BUT one thing I mentioned is the Gospel Truth – trying to portray a picture of Christ and the church.
Something I realized this week is: every relationship I have seen has a common thread that makes it succeed or fail. The degree to which they prioritize portraying a picture of Christ and the church. That is the common denominator among all relationships. That one paradigmatic shift can transcend any and all circumstances. I think this is true even in non-Christian relationships; it just goes by a different name. Serving your significant other.
Before you think I am tooting my own horn here – just because Will and I shoot for being a picture of Christ and the church doesn’t mean we always make it. In fact, I probably air ball that shot more often than not. It’s like shooting free-throws; every basketball team continuously needs to work on their free-throws. Consequently, this is an area Will and I are working on and will always be. To help, I listened to several sermons on marriage this week to glean wisdom and practical tips on how to be a better bride and better valentine to Will.
I highly suggest listening to the sermon series “First Love” on Ephesians 5 from Summit Church. I found them through a resource our church offers called Right Now Media.
Jesus came to love and serve, and he left the Church with the mandate to carry on His work. So when it comes to relationships I think portraying Christ and the Church boils down to loving and serving.
Last week I bragged on Hubster for how much his attitude and actions toward me both reflect Christ and point me to Christ. I wanted to figure out what my role as the Bride, the Church, is. What’s that supposed to look like? And am I actually doing it?
The more I thought, looked through scripture, read commentary, and listened to sermons the more I realized that it’s less the dreaded “submission” that modern day feminism shuns and more about serving.
Think about it. The Church’s job is to reflect Christ, to be His hands and feet here on earth, to serve Him by serving others just as He did. To quote 1 John 4:19 “we love because He first loved us.” We are called to have the same humble attitude that Jesus had (Philippians 2:1-11). We are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Two key passages on marriage, Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5, both begin by calling ALL (husbands and wives, men and women) to be imitators of Jesus.
Jesus came to love and serve, and he left the Church with the mandate to carry on His work. So when it comes to relationships I think portraying Christ and the Church boils down to loving and serving. In one of the sermons from Summit Church I mentioned earlier, the pastor challenges those listening to ask their spouse, family, and friends “what can I do to serve you?”. Ask, listen, and follow through till it becomes a way of life.
This principle of serving goes for all relationships regardless of religious affiliation. Think of all the relationships you know. I bet you will find, as I have, that the strong ones/the great ones are successful because of how they serve one another and put each other first. The weak ones, dysfunctional ones, and broken ones are that way because one or both parties lacked in the trait of serving and putting each other first.
On a practical level, here’s what this principle of service applied looked like for us for Valentine’s Day.
On both “our valentines day” and today I made Will a nice breakfast because it meant that he could stay in bed for a little longer. This morning he returned the favor by getting up anyway to contribute his own egg making prowess so I could have an awesome breakfast too. He showed me love and thoughtfulness by leaving flowers, sonic, and a card on our valentines day even though he wasn’t going to be there to give them to me. I took his hobby and used it to make him a valentine to show that I pay attention to his interests. He’s been busy this week, working his tail off applying for jobs and taking care of us. He does it out of love and service. I respond by making our home a low stress environment, keeping it clean, keeping him fed, helping him pick out his interview clothes, being a sounding board, an encourager, and a prayer warrior.
This morning he held me close and asked me to be his valentine. This afternoon he got me TWO Starbucks drinks with a buy one get one coupon. I took him the reliable car so he could go to his interview. I asked him to make our dinner tonight because I knew he could use the change of pace, and because he makes the best salmon in all of Kentucky. And because we are better as a team I set up a relaxing, romantic dinner atmosphere while he cooked. I’m better at that side of things. I enjoy it, but it stresses him out. Perhaps the biggest way I put him first was buy choosing to ignore the vast majority of social media today to keep him from being in a romantic rat race with every other man on the planet and instead let him be himself.
Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. The church gives herself up in response. The same attitude of love and service is what keeps a relationship strong and vibrant All year long and not just on Valentine’s Day.
What are some ways that you and/or your significant other, family, and friends serve each other? What insights do you have on this topic?