Serving is our spiritual bodybuilding, and marriage is the gym in which we train. Indeed, a marriage where each person considers the other person’s day, their heart, and their needs on a consistent basis, is what God envisioned when He created it.

That said, accepting a servant role can go against current and comfortable beliefs, both culturally and emotionally. Years of behaviors and beliefs have to be unlearned as you completely accept your role as the servant of your spouse—and that will involve a grieving process.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified the stages of grief in 1969: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance.

Shock is a kind of visceral feeling throughout your body, when your reality shifts and you flounder because you are not quite sure what you are supposed to be doing or feeling. Then, some people, even after hearing a truth, can stay in denial about it indefinitely. At the core, you are aware, but you keep pushing against it because it might cause you to change, to grow, or even to admit you were wrong.

The next stage—anger—happens to people who feel they are losing something, be it power or control or money. Even those who simply lose emotional footing can find themselves overwhelmed with irritation. Humans in general do not usually embrace change.

Bargaining can look like blame, or perhaps, obsession over details—what could have been done differently, for example. Sadness is the next to last stage, where you just feel down about the reality you are grieving. This stage is less about fighting the grief, and more about moving into acknowledging the new reality.

The road to acceptance can be an incredibly long process.  That I would even suggest to a person that they are being called by God to serve someone else can really get some men and women very angry.

But if marriage is our gym, the home and our family provide the workouts. If we focus only on ourselves and serving others, we grow weaker and weaker spiritually, for sure. However, if we are focused on feeding our spouses and they are focused on serving us, we will all stay healthier and happier—spiritually plump, if you will, and the grieving process will certainly be worthwhile.

Excerpt taken from: Servant Marriage.

For more ideas on how to incorporate similar principles into your marriage, see our 10 week course Marriage Mondays that you can complete on your own or with a group right in your own home.

For more information on this, join Dr. Weiss on his LinkedIn account at: www.linkedin.com/in/douglasweissphd

Heart to Heart Counseling Center offers counseling and intensives to help you achieve love and understanding with your spouse.

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