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4. At Your Service - How To Outserve Your Spouse

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“Christian Pre Marriage Counseling – At Your Service – How To Outserve Your Spouse”


Summary:  Determining marital roles based on Christ’s example of humble servanthood

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A hush falls over the crowd as the tennis pro tosses the ball into the air and sends it zinging over the net.  WHACK!  In the blink of an eye, the serve is returned with the same passion and precision.  This time, the spectators cheer; they know they’re about to witness a thrilling match.

Marriage isn’t a game between opponents; but it is exciting to watch two evenly matched partners competing to “outserve” each other.  It’s a delicate balance, though.  Consistently serving someone else – even someone we love – doesn’t come naturally; and changing roles in society and the lack of early examples can make it even more challenging.

Fortunately, we have the ultimate role model of humble servanthood in Jesus Christ.  In this video, Gary and Barb Rosberg discuss the importance of a commitment to serve one’s spouse.  Using a timeless scriptural example, they coach couples toward a relationship based on mutual honor and respect – one that is thrilling to participate in and to witness.

Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg

Barb Rosberg:  One of the main issues for couples to determine is the roles you’re going to play in your marriage.  On our radio show we often hear of men who are working and come home at the end of the day and they plop down on the sofa.  The wife comes home from work, or maybe she has worked inside the home all day long, and what happens is that she will work well into the evening.  Every couple needs to decide what they’re going to do as far as this push and pull in roles within their marriage.  Even with cultural changes, we need to have respect and open communication as we serve one another and attempt to meet the needs of our spouse.

Often when one husband’s mother has been home all of her life taking care of her son and the whole family, he can look to his wife as though she is to be his mother.  Not so in marriage.  One man we know says, “Your wife ain’t your momma!”  - and we agree.  Your wife is your wife.  Treat her with that honor and respect and be open to meeting her needs as you listen to the needs that she has in her heart.

Gary Rosberg:  We need to be clear about how we can lighten each other’s loads.  We look at these marital expectations and roles and every couple has to discern and figure out how they’re going to do this.  And I think the preponderance of responsibility lies on us as the husbands to set the pace for what we call outserving our mate.  And when we set that pace, it makes our wives respond to us.  And when she reciprocates, that makes it all reasonable.


Now, how do you do this – especially if you didn’t see it modeled in your house while you were growing up?  When we go back to the Word of God, we can see how Jesus demonstrates this.  And one of the best places to find that demonstration is in the Upper Room just before He went to the cross. 

You know the story.  Jesus is seated at a table.  He’s with the disciples.  And He knows what’s coming.   And He gets up from the table and He takes the cloth wrapped around his waist and He grabs a bowl.  You can imagine those disciples looking at him and thinking “What is Jesus going to do?”; because in that culture the lowliest servant was the one who washed the feet of the visitors.  Yet, here is Jesus. 
He takes the bowl and goes up to Peter and He begins to wash his feet.  You’ve read the passage – John 13.  Peter pushes back because he doesn’t want that to be done.  What Jesus has demonstrated here is absolute humility and service.  When he did that, he set the pace for us as men on how we are to love and outserve our wives.

Years ago, I spoke at a Promise Keepers rally.   There were more than 60,000 guys at that event in Indianapolis.  I took a bottle of water and a hanky – and Barb didn’t know I was going to do this – I brought her up on the platform and got down and said, “Guys, I’m going to show you something – this is what Jesus demonstrates for us.  This isn’t about Gary and Barb Rosberg; it’s about Christ and the way He serves us.”  And I washed Barb’s feet.


At the end of the passage, verse 17 is what rocked my world.  Jesus says,


“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Everyone wants to be blessed by God.  I want to be blessed by God.  So we need to be intentional in serving our spouse.

BR:   That act communicated in such a clear and concise way.  When we serve one another from a clean heart – a heart that isn’t perfect, but desires to do right – that’s when we are truly blessed in our marriage.  We really do encourage you to button down how to communicate clearly and concisely.  Often there can be a push and pull in this area of marriage.  When you serve one another and you really enjoy it, you can enjoy the ride.


From “Marriage 101: Back to the Basics” DVD series


Related Topics: Christian Home, Fellowship, Christian Education, Marriage, Boundaries

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