Couples Must Be Each Other’s Servants
A couple is getting married. Will they look for the other to make them happy, or will they seek to always serve one another? Rob & Mahadi Buthelezi examine the reasons couples want to be married and what they expect from the marriage – some of these may place an impossible burden on the partners.
Why do you want to get married? This is the question we often ask our couples who are preparing to get married as we prepare them to receive the sacrament of matrimony.
We receive answers like,
- It is the next natural step
- I cannot imagine my life without him or her
- He is the love of my life
- She completes me
These no doubt sincere responses often sound clichéd, as if not much thought is given to how they truly understand the purpose and spiritual calling of marriage.
It seems that most people have a certain expectation towards their partners in marriage: people want or need someone who will fulfil their needs, so they marry for selfish gain and not so much to serve one another.
They want someone who will make them laugh, make them feel secure and safe, bring excitement and adventure into their lives. They look for someone who will serve their needs, and not necessarily consider serving or fulfilling the other person’s needs.
In our ministry, we define marriage differently — and that often shocks the couples intending to get married.
We believe and know that marriage is hard work. Marriage is not self-centred but more about supporting each other.
We promote the idea of interdependence and creating an environment of giving of yourself and talents for the betterment of your spouse and children.
Of course, we also acknowledge the fact that no person is perfect in a marriage, and there is no smooth road without hard work.
A couple that gets married has to be a team, forming a bond that no one can break.
The greatest misconception about marriage is that we marry someone who should make us happy. We have this unfair expectation for someone to make us complete and heal all our hurt and childhood problems.
This is a recipe for disaster: the only person who can make you happy is yourself.
We have learnt that marriage is about serving each other and putting your spouse first above all. This concept or idea of marriage is foreign to many of the engaged couples we minister to. They have a different expectation.
Partners serve one another emotionally, spiritually, physically, and psychologically.
This idea of serving each other is not very popular as it debunks the idea of equality and rights as defined by law. We often come across great resistance by people who say things like, “I am not a servant”, suggesting that they lack the understanding and willingness to serve the other.
We teach these ideas to strengthen the relationships in marriage with sound and practical solutions and try by every means to destroy stereotypes and myths about marriage.
We are challenged by social media and friends of the couple who bombard the engaged pair with ideas of what marriage should be.
In simple terms a successful marriage comes into effect as soon as we place the other person first in our lives, and take care of their basic needs in a loving manner.
We have seen that by implementing these ideas in our own marriage, we are more fulfilled and happier than if we are self-serving and self-centred.