Over the past 25 years, I’ve researched and learned everything I could about relationships. There’s been a lot of great insights and tips I’ve gleaned over time.
I’ve applied these strategies in my work with couples and in my own marriage, with fantastic results. However, the BEST relationship advice I ever got did not come from relationship experts; it came from the officiating pastor of my wedding some 24 years ago.
What he said was this…
“The foundation of a healthy and long-term relationship is based on serving one another”.
SERVING ONE ANOTHER???? That didn’t sound very enticing at the time. I thought I’d rather BE served than TO serve (yes, I was immature and selfish back then). But after 24 years of marriage, I can confidently say that HE’S RIGHT.
What I discovered was that when I “serve” my partner, I wholeheartedly give my best to him with a generous spirit. It is not conditional, it does not expect anything in return, and it does not keep score of what my partner has or hasn’t done for me.
I’ve also come to understand that “serving” is not about being a doormat or being used. Rather, it’s about loving the other person so deeply that you can’t help but to want to give to the other. Just like when you have a child. You naturally want to give your best to them and expect nothing in return.
The reward of “serving” EACH OTHER in this way has elicited MUTUAL generosity and giving. Think about it. When someone is nice to you, you are naturally motivated to be nice in return. You don’t have to try hard to be nice or convince yourself to be the bigger person. You just WANT to be.
As a result, BOTH my partner and I have always focused on the other first. It has been about being there for each other, looking out for each other, making sure the other is okay, and thinking about the other first.
Because we BOTH feel loved, seen, and heard, it makes it easy to continue to give. Naturally, we have built up a wonderful cycle of giving, generosity, and selflessness.
The reward we reaped over the years by sowing the seeds of “service” has been a happy marriage, a deep bond, confidence in our ability to be good partners, and security and trust in each other.
I challenge you to start today with the mindset of SERVING ONE ANOTHER. See for yourself how profoundly this one shift can radically improve your relationship.