Couple devotional: SharingWritten by Laird Crump
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This month’s couple devotional is focused on the responsibilities of marriage and, in particular, the thriving marriage trait of sharing.
Begin your devotional by praying that God would impact both you and your spouse with His truth.
Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together.
Sharing: Thriving couples collaborate as a team. They ensure fairness and equity in family responsibilities and household tasks. Their expectations are fairly negotiated and their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
On a scale of 1-10, (1 = low, 10 = high) how are you doing in regards to sharing and working as a team?
As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?
Read the following Bible passages.
Humility and servanthood. You can’t look at the person of Christ without being overwhelmed by His attitude of meekness and His tangible prioritization of others. As followers of Christ, it’s important for us to be like Jesus. Ironically enough, sometimes the most difficult place to live out humility and servanthood is in the home – and in particular in our relationship with our spouse. Perhaps that’s because we have so much familiarity with each other that we begin to take some things for granted. On top of that, most of us struggle with issues of pride. Our natural inclination is to have our needs met rather than to meet the needs of others. But Paul, the first century church leader, challenges us to put others first and to exemplify the humility of Jesus. Think of this as it relates to your marriage. Paul encourages us to be like-minded with our spouse, having the same love and being one in spirit and of one mind. Do you long for in your relationship as well?
How do we achieve that? Look again at Philippians 2:3-4: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
There is some good and practical advice here. These words of Paul are somewhat counterintuitive. We sometimes have lofty expectations that our spouse will meet all of our needs, and we are hurt when they let us down. But Paul is encouraging us to let go of self-centeredness in marriage and instead value our spouse’s needs higher than our own.
Conceptually, most couples understand this. Practically, well, that may be another story. Do you experience fairness and equity in parenting or household tasks? The temptation is to let our spouse clean the kitchen while we relax with the TV remote. Who puts the kids to bed? Who does the laundry or cuts the grass? Sure, some of these tasks are mundane, but that is often where spirituality is lived out. Resentment can build if one spouse feels that they are carrying the lion’s share of the workload. It is not wrong for us to look out for our own needs, but God’s Word urges us to do that after we have looked after the needs of our spouse.
In short, you two are a team. You win as a team or you lose as a team. That means that the two of you need to have some good and regular heart-to-heart conversation about expectations, roles and responsibilities. Our example is Jesus Christ. Thriving couples share the work of family life with equity and fairness. In terms of all the responsibilities of running your home, work hard at treating your spouse the way Jesus would.
- As you reflect upon these principles from God’s Word, what do you sense the Spirit of God wants you to understand?
- Re-read Philippians 2:5-11 and observe the servant nature of Jesus. What stands out to you?
- What’s one area that you could really use your spouse’s help? When they help in this, way affirm them for being like Jesus to you.
- Sit down and write down all the chores and duties required to run your household (e.g., laundry, meal prep, driving kids to school, cleaning the bathroom, etc.). Beside each of these tasks, write down the name of the person usually responsible. Does this list look fair? If not, make a few trades to even things out. A home becomes more stable when all of the roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated.
- Consider washing each other’s feet. Give it a try and then reflect on Jesus’ example.
Take a few moments to listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas in your marriage.
Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.
Laird Crump was the director of marriage ministry at Focus on the Family Canada.
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