Having a Heart for Service

Having a Heart for Service

Last Friday night, we had an early Father’s Day dinner at my sister’s home. She fixed a delicious salad and ordered some pizza from a healthy pizza place that ferments their crust. (It’s great!) When we got there, she told all of us wives that we were going to serve our husbands first, so we each loaded up a plate of salad and pizza for our husbands.

I watched my sister that night. She noticed when her husband’s plate was getting empty and jumped up to get him more. If his drink was running out, she jumped up to get him more. She kept an eye on him to make sure he was happy and satisfied.

We ran into her and her husband on our walk at the beach the next day. I asked her what she was doing this weekend and she told me she had told her husband that she was going to do anything he wanted to do and fix whatever food he wanted to eat. She knows how to serve her husband and make him happy.

As we were all talking around her family room after eating, she said her happy place is in her home. She loves cooking and feeding people. Every morning, she and her husband sit in their family room and have coffee and devotions together. When he gets home at night, she makes sure a hearty meal is waiting for him. She knows he likes the home clean and tidy, so she’s always kept it clean and tidy.

She couldn’t wait for her children to grow up to have an empty nest with her husband. She brings so much joy and fun to his life. From the beginning of their marriage, he let her know that she wasn’t going to boss him around and as she has grown in the wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord, she has grown to be the kind of wife the Lord requires.

Her husband and home have always been her priority. This is the way it should be for all of us. It’s few husbands who would want to leave a wife who are treated by their wives the way my sister treats her husband. She knows what he prefers so she tries to please him in this area. Make sure your husband is a priority since you were created for him.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:18

27 thoughts on “Having a Heart for Service

  1. Such a timely post for our 7th anniversary today. Thank you Lori. Your blog has been a real blessing!

  2. Thank you for giving a real life example of service. Your blog is a great encouragement to me. My marriage has never been more fulfilling and my husband is finally able to be himself. I feel like joy has been restored in our lives.

  3. So, I’m assuming the photo is of your sister and brother in law… They are lovely and look truly happy! ( I love her hair and dress!)

  4. I loved this, but in another sense I feel sad. I feel numb when it comes to being attracted to my husband. That, sometimes I feel repulsed. That achieving a well running home with obedient children seems like a fairy tale. He works hard for us and buys the food at the moment as I’m not able. I know a lot of its just my stinkin thinkin. But I can’t imagine putting a smile on my face all the time and taking charge of the house and kids for once and not feel like a complete emotional mess. I try not to offload on my husband but I fail more than I care to. We don’t have any support networks nearby and I can’t stand to hear the kids cry. I try and ignore it or step outside. I would love to wake up with a smile on my face looking forward to spending time with my large brood. And snuggling with my hubby at night. On days when I do manage to have a backbone with my kids, I am not consistent. Or get discouraged. I would love have such an intimate marriage like this. I have a good husband who, if I handled things better would be all over me like a rash. We have a healthy intimate relationship. But our two biggest blow ups are the state of the house and the kids and their behaviour. He works 12 hours a day, sometimes up to 6 days a week. So other than heavy maintenence, I’m pretty much left to handle everything. Our large home, numerous children, the garden, homeschooling etc. And hubby is tired of giving me advice because he says nothing ever changes. It just feels hopeless. And honestly, so do I.

  5. I’m not Lori, and I am sure she will reply. But I do want to offer some words of advice. Stop with all the negative thinking and grow a backbone with those kids. Remember, you fell in love with the man for a reason, so think back to that if you have to. Also, THINK and I do mean sit down and TRULY think of all he does for you. I am just basing my words on your post, but you said he works 12 hour shifts and you stay home. Now, I am a housewife and I know it’s not a piece of cake, but it truly is MUCH less work and stressful than what your husband does. Really think about that, and I don’t see how you can not appreciate him. Those children can learn chores and help you around the house. Even a toddler can be taught to pick up their dirty clothes and toys and much more if you teach them. If you haven’t read Lori’s book (The Transformed Wife) or Debi Pearl’s (Created to be a Helpmeet) then I highly, and I mean highly recommend getting a copy. Created changed my life and marriage, and it was exactly what I needed because I needed a good kick in the rear and to be told I was wrong. If you’ve already read both books, re-read them. Find encouraging Bible verses and memorize them. I will give you my favorite one (and I had to memorize it when I was letting my negative thoughts and feelings let me become depressed because I would only dwell on the ugly in life and not all the many wonderful positives that the Lord had blessed me with)

    Isaiah 26:3
    Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

    If you don’t get rid of those nasty thoughts, they will turn into more negative thoughts and it will eventually be all you think. Don’t let that happen. So, right now stop thinking anything negative, if you have a negative thought, replace it with something positive. My favorite example: if there are dirty socks on the floor, when you start thinking how ungrateful he is to have left them, remind yourself that there is always someone out there that would LOVE to pick up her husband’s dirty socks (widows, unmarried ladies) and that it is a privilege to get to serve your man. And it truly is a privilege, I honestly believe that now.

    Another thing I have learned the hard way is that not only is love an action word, but so is JOY, you can choose to be joyful. Yes, it is really hard at first and seems impossible (trust me, I’ve been there) but the more you choose to be joyful, the easier it becomes next time.

    I don’t normally like to share my prayers, as prayers are a personal conversation with God, but maybe it will help you. When I pray, I ask God to help me make our home a joyful and peaceful place for my husband and I also ask Him to help me to not nag and complain, but to be joyful and glad. I also ask God to help me to obey and submit to my husband JOYFULLY and to help me to honor and reverence my husband in all things. You see, I don’t want to JUST submit to my husband, I want to do it joyfully. As far as desire for intimacy goes, maybe you don’t feel desire because deep down you know something isn’t right and that you need to change? For me, nothing stirs up that desire more than knowing God created me for my man— I am his and I was created to serve him, there is nothing better than knowing this.

    Now, as far as kids go, I haven’t read To Train up a Child by the Pearls, but I hear allot of good things about it. Yes, this too will be hard, but worth it. If you get those kids under control and behaving better, that too will help with your relationship with your husband (or at least from people I have spoken to, that’s the case).

    Above all else, pray that God change your attitude and mindset. That He helps you get your joy back!

    If you need to, and Lori is ok with it, you can get my email from Lori and jot me an email.

  6. Brilliant reply by the Happy Homemaker. I can think of nothing more to add, and we would all do well to remember her words.

    Mrs M, please do not lose hope. I truly believe if you were to implement all of the suggestions, you can have a changed home and marriage. God Bless!

  7. Thank you ladies. Happy Homemaker, I would love that. I’m not sure how much it will help. But it’s worth a try. I’ve read all those books mentioned in your post. I tell my husband about my intentions following my implimenting the book. And he tells me the house and kids aren’t changing quickly enough and to hurry up and get them all retrained. so I get discouraged. He is a prrfectionist. So if there is a mess, no matter how big he expects it to be in showroom condition in a snap and even if the kids were trained, that’s just not possible. He loves his bible, he loves listening to the pearls etc. But he has never read a book on child training in his life. He leaves that up to me. He sticks to theology and such. Which I’m fine with. But he makes the retraining process so much harder than it needs to be. Because he has lost all hope of things improving and it hurts that he is like that. He works so much because he hates coming home to a disaster. I’ve talked to him about letting stuff go and he told me not to get rid of anything. ( He doesn’t like getting rid of junk, just incase) I’m the opposite. I will let go of stuff a lot easier than he will. So that doesn’t help either.

  8. The first thing that came to mind when I read your heart-wrenching post is depression. Have you been to a doctor? Sometimes anti-depressants for a short time can work wonders to allow us to get our heads back on straight and get life back under control again.
    It sounds like you’re totally overwhelmed and don’t have any support. That is a hard place to be in. To cope, you need to be strong mentally. Please, see a doctor. There is no shame in it, and it might enable you to get your life back on track and your home under control.

  9. Mrs M, have you ever heard of flylady? If not, Google her and read baby steps. Your husband may not think you are changing fast enough, but that’s no reason to give up. Keep working on being joyfully submissive and training those children. If it were me, I would establish daily chores for each child that would be completed before schooling starts or immediately after. No special privileges (tv time, play time ect…) until they were done. it’s amazing the housework that can get done when everyone has their chores laid out and they know what is expected. Set up a chore chart and you could even have different chores for different days ect… It will be a challenge with the children at first, especially if they have never had chores, but stick with it and be consistent and firm and it will get easier when they realize you are serious. Also, make sure your husband is your priority. Ask yourself each day what you can do for him. Serve him joyfully, and let him know you appreciate all he does. You will have to stick with it though, every day until it becomes like second nature to be joyful. And don’t forget to smile, it lets your husband and children know that you are joyful, happy and content!

  10. Thank you Happy Homemaker,
    Strangely enough, we have a schedule in place. And a chore system in place. But I don’t follow it as it feels to rigid. My husband constantly tells me the house would be cleaner and the children better behaved if I just enforced it. But I feel like I’m tearing my hair out each time I try. And there is no way I can get the zones spotless in the time frame given. If they are not spotless, when he comes home he grumbles and comments that the house is filthy, that I must of been sitting on my backside all day and the kids are stupid idiots who aren’t worth spending time with. And this is after I have pushed for kids to help and I feel progress has been made. I try to encourage the kids and tell them to love and respect their daddy, but he kinda unravels all of that when he comes home and reacts like that. Or he comes home angry. He is a good father. But he is sick of the chaos and nothing getting better. Some may find that hard to believe, but I’ve seen the good side of him and name calling and grumpiness is not him. I’ve tried flylady and He hates it. He wants the house clean NOW not in a few months time. I read the book hidden treasures and it was great. But it sure is tough trying to ignore his grumpiness. And I question that by doing it that way, if I am being a rebellious wife. And I do not want to be that way. So I feel torn I guess. I’m not sure he understands the logistics of my circumstances. But only because he works so much. He said he feels if I am managing things well, he will stay out of my hair .

  11. KAK,
    no, I don’t have depression. Although my family is riddled with it. I’m seeing a Dr soon to get the results of some bloodwork done earlier this year. My vitamin d3 levels may be low, and I have been taking a supplement for that. It’s a problem that has been going on for years. I never seem to get a handle on it all. I need to conquer it once and for all. But it is almost impossible when you have zero support.

  12. ” I try to encourage the kids and tell them to love and respect their daddy, but he kinda unravels all of that when he comes home and reacts like that.”

    I grew up with a dad that “told” us things, yet never showed them. The children need to be taught to respect their daddy, and that will only come from you respecting him. YOU have to set the example for the children, because trust me if you don’t respect him, they won’t either. They may obey him, but not respect him. You need to get the ball rolling here. Fix him his favorite meal soon, have his favorite snacks available, when he walks through the door, fix him a cold beverage and smile. Don’t start with how tough a day you have had, because if he’s like my husband, that’s not what he wants to hear after working hard all day. He wants to come home and relax and unwind—- make that happen for him. You have to respect and honor him if you want the kids to do the same. All you have to do is look at any sitcoms on tv to see that what I am saying is true. Pray daily for God to help you to honor and respect your husband in all things, ask God to give you opportunities to show it. It may take a while for him to appreciate it (especially if this is something that has been tried in the past and then forgotten or let go, he will figure you are going through another phase of honoring him, but that you will soon stop). But even if he never appreciates it, it doesn’t change the fact that you are to honor him.

    Now the following is my experience, and only my experience. I cannot say it will work for anyone else, but for me, my depression times stem from straying from my role that God has given me. It’s like my heart knows I am not living as God has called and things just aren’t right, so I start to let myself think all sorts of negative thoughts, silly thoughts. Like “If he really loved me, he would do ???” and why doesn’t he show me more that he loves me. However, as soon as I turn those thoughts around and remind myself that this man is providing for our family on his own, working a physically demanding job in the heat/cold. What else do I need that shows he loves me? Flowers? Anyone can go to a store and pick them up, but a man that works a hard job and allows you to be home with the children, that’s showing love. For me, the very least I can do is show him appreciation—- having his meal ready when he gets here, making myself pretty before he gets here, keeping the home clean and tidy, and anything else he may ask. It is an honor for me to get to serve my man in this way. And as long as I remember this, things are good and I’m not “sad”. It’s hard today, so many women trying to make me feel like I am a doormat or oppressed. Trust me ladies, I am far from a doormat or oppressed. When I started submitting and obeying, funny thing, my husband started showing his love more. I think it’s because he knew I was on his side and not fighting him all the time. Re-read those books with new eyes and pray that God give you wisdom and understanding as you do. Also, it sounds like to me that maybe you and the kids need to have a “cleaning day”, skip school one day or two or a week and give the home a spotless cleaning. Yes, it will be hard work and take forever, but once it’s done establish a schedule and keep it and it will be easier to maintain. No excuses, your husband wants the home spotless, so get it spotless and work on keeping it clean and tidy. I am only guessing here, but I feel like this is a major concern between you two and it needs to be taken care of. He’s not asking you to do something that is unreasonable. My husband expects our home to be clean and tidy and we all are more relaxed when it is that way. Again, get those kids to doing chores, but YOU HAVE TO STICK WITH IT, you can’t do it one week and let it go because that doesn’t accomplish anything, except make you more frustrated for not maintaining it and make your husband upset as well.

    Finally, let me leave you with these verses in Ephesians

    22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

    23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

    24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

  13. I don’t question if he loves me. I just think “he doesn’t understand, if only he would let me do this____, I wish he wasn’t so mean, he was too harsh with the kids, he is being unreasonable etc etc”.
    Every day he rings me to make sure I am following the schedule to the letter. If there is any hint I am not or I am running late, he lectures me about how I don’t care about the schedule etc. And even if i tried that day, if the house isn’t spotless he goes off at me and the kids about the state of the house. The schedule is based on a house that is already reasonably clean and tidy, with time slots of 15 minutes during the day to clean and then a two hour time slot after after lunch while the younger ones are supposed to nap. But more often than not, it takes two hours just to get them to stay in bed and go to sleep! And after kids are in bed, I want to spend time with him and not clean. So it’s a vicious cycle. I sent some pictures to your email yesterday. I’m not sure if you got them. But there is no way the house can be cleaned to spotless within those time frames. I will Re read the books you mentioned. But this is going to be really tough to push thru it. Friends and family around us think that A. We shold stop having kids because clearly I can’t handle the ones I have and b. They think the kids should be in school. But if they won’t obey us at home, why would they listen to teachers? Thankfully my husband won’t agree to either of those options. But it is so hard when everyone around you says you can’t do it. It will never happen, it’s impossible etc. Please pray for us. Already today feels like a complete flop.

  14. Mrs M,

    Some men are never satisfied. Trying to please them is impossible, since even if 95% of something is done, they will focus and comment on the 5% undone. I recommend that you find your peace by trying to please the Lord in your role as a mother and housewife and wife.


  15. Mrs M reading your comments makes me so sad. And angry. Is your husband actually the controlling, unreasonable, nasty man he sounds like in your comments? Or is he actually a loving, reasonable, Christ-like man who is at his wits end? If it’s the latter, I would suggest you to sit down and have a chat to him, a really honest heart-to-heart, and tell him exactly how you feel. Tell him exactly what you need from him in order to be able to please him better, and be specific – examples may be: him backing you up in training the children, making an effort to notice the good that you have done that day and overlook what you haven’t managed to do – after all, no one was ever changed through criticism. People are changed through loving encouragement. Maybe there is one specific area of the house that MUST be spotless for him to be able to relax. Make sure that every day, when he gets home, that area is spotless, then every week, as well as keeping on top of that area, focus on the part of the house that is next important to him.
    If you are honest with your husband, and pour your heart out to him, tell him how much you are struggling and how hard you are trying and how you are overwhelmed, he might be able to take a day off work and help you and the kids get the house in order, so it’s easier to keep on top of. If that isn’t possible, maybe there are family members that could come and help.
    It is a pretty hard, horrible man who will not help his wife when she is really, really struggling. If he expects you to cope all day by yourself with multiple children and homeschooling them alone, he needs to lower his expectations about a spotless house, at this stage of life. You are a human, not superwoman. I’m not saying don’t do your best, but if you’re doing your best and it still isn’t enough, perhaps the expectations placed upon you are unreasonable and you need some help.
    My husband likes an immaculate house, too. But he’s not above pitching in and helping when we’ve all been busy and the work gets away on us.

    Your husband knowing his Bible and theology is all very well, but it’s showing Christ in our lives that is actually more important. And to Jesus, while housework was important, it wasn’t *the* most important thing (the example I’m thinking of is Mary and Martha when Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus and Martha was serving).

    I would hope that, if your husband is actually a loving, kind man who is at his wits end, that when you plead with him to help you, he will actually listen, and figure out some solutions with you. Because clearly, making a schedule and berating you for not keeping to it, is not working.

  16. KAK,

    It never helps a woman to tell her what her husband should be doing since she has no ability to convict or change him and all it usually does is to make the women more bitter. Therefore, we can only work with her actions and attitudes since she is the only one she can change.

    Thank you.

  17. KAK,
    Thankfully, the husband is the latter. He tried to be supportive for many years, but when he saw no change it just depressed him more and more. He isn’t constantly angry, he can be quite fun at times. He is just at his wits end. Where I live, people tend to look at our large family and either stay away as it’s a lot to deal with, or relationships are shallow, or they have no idea of how much we struggle. Everytime someone has come to our home to ‘help’ they use the oportunity to be very vocal about their disgust and proceed to be very blunt in what they think. And so I stopped accepting help. I am all for speaking the truth. But these ladies were just plain old controlling and hurtful. There’s a difference. I’ll accept criticism, but not a barrage of insults. I have been praying about it and asking God to give me that backbone I need to train my children in His ways. My husband is not the the only one in the wrong here. I’ve made multiple mistakes. I also would never think of asking my husband to do housework. I’m happy to let him if he wants to. But my business is the running of the home. His business is outside the home. And frequently he tells me my only job is to direct and train the children. They are my helpers and I am his helper. He hates to see me carrying this burden on my own and just wants his wife back.

  18. You are right, some men are so hard headed that they are mean thru and thru. But, Christ never gave up on us, and if marriage is to represent Christ and the church, then we should emulate that model. There is a ‘christian’ blogger who just announced she is divorcing her husband for reasons I will keep to myself. While she did work on the marriage for two years, I think she is wrong to divorce him. She is basically leaving him free to continue n his perverted and sinful behaviour. And her mess could of turned into her message. We are accountable to God for our actions, not our husband’s. Our focus should be Christ, not if our husband is nice and loving our not. A woman married to a cruel and mean man can still have joy and a fulfilling marriage if her focus is Christ centred.

  19. You are right Lori, and it wasn’t my intention to tell Mrs M what her husband should be doing. I was trying to suggest she ask him, in a loving way, for help.
    As Mrs M has previously said her husband is a good man, I find it very hard to accept that if she approaches it correctly, and pleads with him, he won’t help her.

  20. Dear Mrs. M.
    You say he has a chore schedule in place but you don’t follow it as you think it is too rigid. Just some advice from a mother of nine , married to a very reasonable “perfectionist” man. Follow the schedule, you may be very surprised to find how well it works. If it doesn’t, then very reasonably tell him where you think it could be altered to work better. This will show your husband that you do respect and follow his leading. With the child training, it has been my experience that bad behaviour breeds down the line, so start with the older children, get them in line and the younger will follow their example. Always, always follow through with consequences for work left undone or not done as well as it could be. e.g. after you have finished weeding the vegie patch you can read your book for 30 mins.. If the job is not done you can’t read the book and you have to go back out and get the job done properly. Do this all without getting emotional.
    Lastly, as soon as bad thoughts come in, start praying for your husband, for your children, for yourself or simply start praising God. Nancy Campbell suggests setting a timer every half hour or so , to simply praise God . You will find as soon as your thinking changes, you will have more victories in your life. God Bless

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *