A Successful Marriage Requires Serving Each Other and Falling in Love Again Every Day

For the next three weeks, every Monday, the  blog articles will be taken from Doug Fields and my new book, The First Few Years of Marriage. We love the book and our dream is for couples in their first few years of marriage to build a healthy foundation in their marriage that will last forever. If you are past the first few years, we think these articles will relate to everyone. We hope you will consider buying the book for yourself or a gift for someone in the first few years.

A Successful Marriage Requires Serving Each Other and Falling in Love Again Every Day

I (Doug) remember the exact moment I looked into the eyes of my own Cathy and knew it was love. It was a powerful and transforming moment. It was the same for Jim.

If you want a healthy marriage, you must discipline yourself to fall in love with your spouse over and over again. This action is a continual choice. There’s that word again. The choice to keep falling in love is less about romantic feelings and more about routine actions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online, routine refers to an action that is “performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason.” This definition fits marriage perfectly. You don’t choose to love your spouse for a special reason. Instead, you love your spouse for no reason at all. That’s what love is. It doesn’t demand a reason.

True love is sacrificial, and if you want to become a better lover, you’ll learn to serve your spouse daily. Serving others is the ultimate sacrifice. It means laying down our lives for someone else. The apostle Paul’s letter to the people of Ephesus offers solid marriage advice: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The word submit also means “to serve.” When you have a servant’s attitude toward your spouse, you are literally acting like Jesus. Serving is your choice: you can choose to be either a servant lover or a selfish lover. If you’re a servant lover, you’ll look for ways to serve your spouse through simple, routine, ordinary acts of kindness. You’ll do it for no special reason or payback; instead, you’ll serve as an expression of your love for your spouse. You can fall in love every day and express that love in practical acts of service.

Following her husband’s death after forty-six years of marriage, Sue Johnston wrote, “Four children, 46 bouquets [of flowers] and a lifetime of love were his legacy to me when he passed away.” She continued, “On my first Valentine’s Day … ten months after I lost him, I was shocked to receive a gorgeous bouquet from [my husband]. Angry and heartbroken, I called the florist to say there had been a mistake.”

The florist responded, “No, ma’am, it’s not a mistake. Before he passed away, your husband prepaid for many years and asked us to guarantee that you’d continue getting bouquets every Valentine’s Day.” The attached card read, “My love for you is eternal.” That thoughtful, incredible husband chose to serve his wife “till death do us part” and beyond. He was a servant lover. You can experience a healthy marriage like that no matter what circumstances you’re currently facing.

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Jim Burns and Doug Fields

Jim Burns and Doug Fields

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi. Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family and the cofounder of Download Youth Ministry. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers, parents, and couples each year, and is the author or coauthor of more than 60 books. Doug has been married for 32 years to his wonderful wife, Cathy, and they have three grown children.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA
      92693

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
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