Out-Serve Your Wife

Pastor, craftsman, beekeeper, and all-around Renaissance man Tony McCollum once said that the goal of marriage is to out-serve your spouse.

This statement radically changed how I thought about my marriage (so much so that I now see I’ve mentioned it before). I’d always wanted my wife to be happy, and I assumed her happiness would contribute to my own, but until I heard that statement, it had never occurred to me that the only way to make that happiness stick long-term was to serve her as well and as often as possible.

Trying to outdo my wife with service is a good goal for many reasons:

Why to Serve

1) Serving her requires thought – I have to intentionally think of ways to serve her, which means she is the focus of positive attention from me. Thinking of my wife in a positive way helps sustain and increase my love for her.

2) It takes the focus off of me – When I dwell for any length of time on how I’m feeling, whether life is going “my way” or not, I can get depressed and self-centered. When I’m thinking of ways to serve my wife, I don’t have as much mental space to dwell on myself.

3) Along with the benefits to my mental state, if I’m doing it right, my wife will appreciate my serving her, which will mean she’s thinking positively about me as well. Your wife feeling positively towards you is pretty much a requirement for a happy marriage.

So, what does it mean to “serve your wife?” What does that look like?

How to Serve

It doesn’t necessarily mean waiting on her like a queen, doing all the chores while she rests up. Serving your wife doesn’t even have to mean doing acts of service, as defined in the Five Love Languages, unless that’s your wife’s primary love language, in which case it probably will mostly mean that. But it really means doing things that speak her love language, whatever that may be – working to make sure you keep your wife’s love lank full.

So if her primary love language is Words of Affirmation, serving your wife will mean making sure you pay her sincere compliments and speak tenderly / lovingly to her. It will also mean refraining from harsh criticism and couching needed criticism in words affirming her and encouraging her and supporting her.

If her primary love language is Gifts, serving her will look a lot like unexpected flowers or tickets to a show you know she’d like.

If it’s Quality Time, serving her might look like focused attention with no distractions as she tells you about her day or anything that’s on her mind.

And, if her language is Physical Touch, it might look like a shoulder rub while she’s working at the computer or holding hands on the couch or out in public.


Serving your wife means intentional focus on showing her love in the way that she best receives love. If you’re doing that, and she’s working to do the same for you (“out-serve each other”), your marriage will be happy no matter what other circumstances you may be going through.


What does serving your wife look like in your marriage? Decide to serve your wife in an unexpected way this week, and let me know how it goes in the comments.

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