Can you imagine not caring for yourself and still being cared for?
Last week, Jeanne and I celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our marriage. It was a moment to look back, to reflect and to ponder over the effects our marriage has had on the lives of each of us.
No words can describe the gratefulness this created in my heart. Having the privilege to live together with my wonderful lady is nothing short of amazing to me. The last ten years have been such a gift, such a blessing to me, I will never find a way to thank my God enough for those years. I deeply cherish her presence in my life.
It made me think about the reason why our marriage has been so good. It certainly wasn’t the butterflies. In fact, I never really had them for Jeanne and so didn’t she. Yeah, sometimes they come and do a bit of flapping practices in my stomach. But they’re certainly not something I could rely on.
Because the reason for successful marriages are not butterflies. You simply can’t keep them up and active all the time – especially not when you would need them most.
Of course, I could name many reasons, that contributed to our good marriage. Like the fact that we both went through a process of inner healing, growing in our character, getting to know God and discovering our Identity in Him. I could also emphasize how we always try to find the gold in each other and concentrate on seeing that god-given identity in each other, instead of focusing on sometimes all too obvious flaws that lie before our eyes.
But today I would like to talk about a secret (or is it even one?) we didn’t consciously tap into until about a year ago or so. But the results so far have been amazing and the possibilities for the future endless.
It is serving each other.
Well the problem of serving each other in the context of marriage most often is the fear of missing out on your own welfare. And, in fact, this fear is well-founded, since many times in marriages it is only one person who is investing in the other without anything coming back from the other end. That’s because one’s love tank is full at least to some degree, while the other person has an empty love tank and is thus unable to love and invest into other people – even if it’s their own spouse.
But what if the love tank of both partners is full enough so that both are able to invest? What if no one has to fear of missing out on something if they put the needs of the other before their own?
Heaven on earth will arise.
Because if your needs and wants met by the other while the other’s needs and wants are met by you, then, the needs and wants of both parties are fulfilled to the same degree and with the same amount of energy needed as if each one had cared for himself and herself only…BUT, and here comes the big thing..: it just feels sooooo much better.
The experience of being cared for by the other is simply awesome, while doing something good for the other brings so much joy into your heart.
So why isn’t everyone doing it in their marriage?
Because it requires a lot of trust. Trust, that the other is doing their part as well and – probably even more important – trust that God is caring for you, whether your partner is doing it or not.
Caring for your partner instead of yourself means losing control over the care for your own needs. It brings a lot of vulnerability into your relationship. Getting over this can be a really difficult process.
But imagine that your partner is actually meeting your needs while you are taking care for his or hers. The love, trust and connection between you two will grow in a way you wouldn’t even have dared to dream about.
This means love.
As I said above, Jeanne and I have only begun to tap into this secret. We still have a lot of learning to do, a lot of getting to know each other. But as I imagine us growing together more and more the possibilities lying ahead of us are nearly endless.
It is a step-by-step process and I’m looking forward to it.
Hi, here is Jeanne writing.
To illustrate a little what Benny is saying, I thought of two practical examples we serve each other in ways we wouldn’t have thought of only a few years ago:
A couple of weeks ago, we had guests for Sunday around 5pm. They just wrote us a message to tell us that they were on their way and would be here in 20minutes.
Benny, having had a very busy week and a not really relaxing Weekend up to that point, struggled with tiredness and the need to spend some time by his own.
As I saw my husband tired and struggling, I introduced the idea that we could use the time left for “some intimacy” until the guests would arrive.
He was perplexed and with a wide smile of unbelief he agreed. That was a great “quickie” so to say, and following that, Benny was relaxed and ready to receive our guests.
It was the first time I used that “weapon” to fetch my husband from his emotional state of being drained – but not the last time.
This year, I thought of something special for my birthday-present: A photo shooting as a couple, to celebrate our 10years of marriage! Last Saturday we had this shooting planned. Benny had a very busy week and would much rather have spent the afternoon at home or doing some of the many pending things around the house than join me for a photo session and follow through the many poses I had in mind (and the different outfits I brought).
However, from the day I told him about my idea until the moment the shooting was over, he supported me by fully joining in. The photographer herself was astonished from his attitude of fully being part of this shooting, adding his own ideas, thoughts and an attitude of support, love, humor and patience. I love the results of this shooting and carry a deep gratefulness for his amazing attitude and servant heart toward me!
I will close this article with Benny’s words above:
“Imagine that your partner is actually meeting your needs while you are taking care for his or hers. The love, trust and connection between you two will grow in a way you wouldn’t even have dared to dream about.
This means love.”