At All Times-Psalm 34:1

May 21, 2012

Eliminate Competition. Stop Serving Your Husband.

Filed under: Personal Reflections — by Whitney Standlea @ 1:21 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I am writing this on my six year wedding anniversary. I remember standing at the alter with my husband, listening to the words of our dear pastor and friend: “You are a team, a ministry team.” He asserted to us that our union was blessed by God to be used by God for His purposes and His glory. We were to work together at life, love, family, marriage, ministry as one unit. We have often referred back to that “team” concept at different times in our marriage, for different reasons. One barrier keeps coming to mind as I think about our marriage and our joint effort at living life in service to God through our family and the church: competition.

Competition has been a great battle for me in our marriage. While desiring to be on the same team as my husband, I often want to pit us against each other. I’m not talking here about “outdoing one another in showing honor.” I’m talking about that constant comparative mindset that asks the questions, “Who’s put in more hours of work today? Who’s changed more diapers today? Who’s been on their feet the most? Who has been the most focused” I am trying to mentally tally the day’s labors and see who deserves to take a break more. Other times I am attempting to justify my desire to expect more from my husband.

Hidden in all of this is my people-pleasing little heart. It’s that part of me that is wanting him to notice and appreciate all the work I’ve done. It’s the part of me that won’t ever say it, but secretly thinks I deserve something from someone for whatever it is I have done. This competitive attitude can ruin an entire day. “Welcome home, Honey!” turns into “Will you fix the light as soon as dinner is over.” Cleaning up a few dirty dishes while my husband catches the weather forecast, turns in to a muttering affair of begrudgement that lasts the entire evening because “He’s too self-absorbed to assist me with anything as small as cleaning up the kitchen.” It won’t matter how many home projects he completes that night, how involved he is with the kids, or how servant-hearted his attitude. Any rest, any break, any moment where he is not fulfilling my agenda suddenly becomes an opportunity to pounce on his “un-sportsman-like conduct” in the midst of our “team-effort” of caring for our home and family.

I have found that this attitude entirely strips me of the ability to

Have joy.

Serve my husband.


And Worship.

What an unpleasant state of affairs!

Trying to move forward and resolve this messy heart of mine, I have found the following truth to be most helpful…

I am a servant of Christ. When I serve others, it is primarily for the purpose of serving Jesus.

When I start focusing my attitude around serving my husband, it quickly becomes a competition of serving one another (Disclaimer: Despite the impression my thoughts might be giving you, he serves me very well!). Anything he does that isn’t focused toward me or doesn’t fit my agenda, suddenly gives me self-vindicating ammunition for why he is just so unworthy to be served by wonderful me-I hope you’re hearing a bit of the ridiculousness of this thought process. However, when I decide to do something extra for my husband or complete one of his usual chores because I know that I am serving Christ by loving and giving of myself to others, then I can suddenly drag that trash down the stairs without a scowl on my face. I can volunteer to watch the kids by myself so he can have a chance to relax-even if I’ve been with them all day. Seriously, how can I not complete any task with joy and worship when I’m doing it for the Perfect Lamb who died that I might live for Him?

My perspective on my husband and myself also realign when I walk in light of this truth. He is no longer the self-absorbed tv-watching sluggard that I have pitted myself against in fierce competition. He is just the hard-working man who has been on his feet all day and needs a minute alone. And I am not longer the wonder-wife who has slaved the day away. I am just me, serving Jesus, with my husband-teammate. So, dear sister, stop serving your husband. Start serving Jesus. Walk in joy, love, and worship as you serve others for Him.

Romans 12:10-11 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.



  1. Wow! I don’t know you (my friend Lesley Branscum shared this on her fb feed), but you wrote exactly what I’ve been struggling with! Thank you so much for putting it into words and encouraging me to serve Christ by serving my husband. I expect so much out of him, yet cut myself slack all too often! Thank you, thank you for helping me see the error of my ways. God used you!

    Comment by Laura Bramlett — May 21, 2012 @ 8:45 pm |Reply

  2. My husband is a pastor, and after reading this to him just now, he wanted me to write you again and ask if you minded if he reproduced your post and shared it with our church. He would definitely give credit to you.

    Comment by Laura Bramlett — May 21, 2012 @ 9:07 pm |Reply

  3. […] week I wrote a post about dealing with the competitive thoughts we can have toward our husbands when they don’t do […]

    Pingback by Judgement: The Zeal Zapper « At All Times-Psalm 34:1 — May 27, 2012 @ 8:31 pm |Reply

  4. Wow, what I don’t understand is, there are no visible articles written to husbands to tell them what you are telling wives to be. Could you please write an article on this site for our husbands? We all have sinned, and fallen short of God’s glory, not just wives. Our husbands need just as much guidance in this matter as the wives do. We want them to receive help just as we want wives to receive help. Let us be fair and balanced. Jesus is fair and balanced and he wants both men and women to examine our hearts and our intentions.

    Why do we scold and lecture women all the time?? I am confused.

    Comment by Jean — September 8, 2012 @ 4:38 pm |Reply

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