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Serving Starts at Home


Serving Starts At Home

As the holidays near, our attention is often directed to serving our community and helping those in need. Many times we get so busy serving others that we forget the people right in front of us. It’s tempting to put my spouse at the bottom of this list of people to serve. He can fend for himself, right? But true service doesn’t end in the home; it actually starts in the home and spreads out from there.

One of the changes that took our marriage from “good” to “great” was a commitment to serving each other in our home, every day.

I noticed the change in Joe immediately - this sudden enthusiasm in helping me with the smallest of tasks. Hearing  “Can I help you with that?” was such a blessing and a tangible expression of his love for me. So in turn, I began to look for more ways to serve him. And I was surprised how much fun it was finding ways to make each other’s load easier. The best kind of competition!

That reminds me of the challenge that Paul gives us in Romans: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. -Romans 12:10

How can you serve your spouse?


I can’t lighten my husband’s load if I don’t know what load he is carrying. What does he need? This can be done stealthily or directly: figure out what he needs or just ask him. If Joe is stressed, I ask him outright, "What can I do right now to help you?" It might be as simple as fixing him a snack or finding a missing shirt. Then of course, follow through!

Joe and Tara Buchanan

Joe and Tara Buchanan have been married for 23 years and have four children. They have a passion for building strong marriages, and they share more of their story on their blog, Behind Our Smiles.


Some kinds of service are easy and convenient. But sometimes our service requires sacrifice and going out of our way.  Getting up out of my seat, even if I just sat down. Giving him that last piece of dessert that we both had our heart set on. Making that stop for something he needs that is out of my way on my way home.


With true service, it’s not a contract where I do you a favor and you pay me back. No strings attached. We are programmed to think that with any act of service there is a catch. Give with no expectation of receiving anything in return, and receive knowing you are loved!

After Joe and I began a lifestyle of service, you know what we discovered? Serving with love and humility is less tiring than doing those same things with resentment. There have been some days that there’s been a lot I have to do to serve my family and husband, and I’m tempted to be grumpy. Can’t he do this himself??

But being grumpy and self-centered is exhausting. When I serve with a loving heart, I feel more energetic and happy at the end of the task. It might feel awkward at first, but after some practice, serving can become a lifestyle that breathes life into your marriage!

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. -Galatians 5:13