Full-Serve vs. Self-Serve

I’m dating myself here, but I remember the days when there were two options to choose from when getting gas: Full-Serve and Self-Serve. 
My mom always chose Full-Serve, and a friendly attendant would approach our car to offer a range of services including pumping gas, washing windshields, and checking the oil.
Times have changed! Full-service is no longer an option. You might say service is a thing of the past.
How similar is this to our relationships?
When relationships are new, we fall all over ourselves to impress our suitors. We spend immeasurable amounts of time on our appearance to become attractive, brainstorm endlessly about ways to delight them, and gaze dreamingly into their eyes, hanging onto every word as though spoken from the lips of angels.
With marriage our relationships evolve.
We begin to let our appearance slide, saving razors and make-up for special occasions. Delightful surprises become less frequent, and the former voices of angels somehow become static. Focus becomes less spouse-centered and more self-centered, with emphasis on what is NOT happening in our relationships. Most often, what is NOT happening is common: affection and intimacy, both emotional and sexual.
To revive the fading spark, try “dating” your husband. Start by knowing what NOT to do. For many women, a relaxing evening might include a hot soaking bubble bath complete with candles and soft music. However, setting such a scene for your husband after a stressful day is most often NOT what he needs to unwind. Suffice it to say that women and men have different needs and desires, and serving our husbands should include filling his heart with things he longs for.
Does he like…
  • Home-cooked meals? Surprise him with his favorite recipe.
  • Unstructured time to relax with the family? Put away the to-do list and enjoy a lazy afternoon.
  • Watching movies? Make popcorn and rent his favorite genre after the kids are in bed.
Investing time into demonstrating that his passions are important to you goes a long way in expressing that he is a priority. Speaking of passion…
(Mom, now would be a good time to move to the next blog post!)
One of the MOST EFFECTIVE ways you can connect with and serve your husband is through sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy not only bonds two hearts through emotional expression, offering an incomparable avenue through which two souls become one, it supplies many physical rewards such as increased endorphin production, stress release, and the most obvious physical pleasure. Consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and initiate sexual contact when your husband least expects it. This is a time in a relationship when actions speak louder than words – VOLUMES!
The rewards? Several. Among the obvious are excitement and pleasure, emotional and physical intimacy, and improved relationship quality. Bonus: the humility that accompanies a servant heart changes the perspective on many issues. Wives seem to have a more light-hearted approach to annoyances, and husbands become more attentive to their wives’ desires. I can say from personal experience that when my husband, Bryan and I make an effort to connect physically – even as the stress of life weighs us down – everything else seems easier, almost all right with the world. We face obstacles as an allied team and find ways to shrug off petty arguments nearly as quickly as they begin.
Serving our husbands takes much more effort than waiting for them to serve us. However, it more than fills our tanks!
By Stacey Micklevitz
Stacey Micklevitz is a frequent contributor and a member of the messy marriage team
  • I love this post!!!

  • Kim

    I wish there were a way to convey the humility with which I want to disagree with this post. A way to contradict without being aggressive. A way to be particular without being critical. If even expressing those desires sets the tone for what follows, I hope you take it into account.

    As a husband who has come from a very bad place to one where my wife feels comfortable ministering with me to other Christian couples in crisis, I just have to disagree. I suppose there are marriages that are sooo good that they would benefit by the advice in this post. But, in my own marriage experience and in our ministering, many wives would scoff at it. The reason is that they’ve tried it. They’ve been that quiet, sweet, submissive,model Christian wife who proposes “date night” and even, against their better judgment, agrees to sexual intimacy with the one person in their whole life that they are least spiritually attached to. With NO RESULTS!

    Now, I admit I am coming from a husband’s perspective and the counsel I would give husbands is far from what you are giving wives. In my experience, what Stacey is suggesting in this post is the standard fare coming from the “church.” And it is surprising, because it really isn’t what you’d expect from the “church.” The counsel of this post is essentially to address a spiritual problem with physical remedies. And, I think we are seeing the results of this kind of counsel in the collapse of Christian marriages. Enough said. I hope what I’ve expressed is taken in the spirit it is given and hasn’t offended. God Bless! Kim

  • Kim~

    Firstly, please allow me to express my sincere gratitude for your post – for expressing your thoughts even if they are contradictory to my own. I welcome all feedback without feeling offended.

    I must clarify that my posts come from my heart and own experiences – NOT from any “church” doctrine. I have also come from a “very bad place,” one from which such information indeed may NOT have rectified the situation. Messy Marriage addresses various levels of messes in marriages ranging from “sooo good” to those that are near collapse. Also, MM’s posts are to help PREVENT messes from occurring. I certainly believe that wives should only exercise acts that they believe might be effective in their own marriages/situations with great emphasis on those with which they are comfortable, AND with complete understanding that EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP IS DIFFERENT.

    A woman’s sexuality is extremely powerful in marriage. In addition to sex being a significant bonding experience, a woman can actually use it as a TOOL to build up her husband and secure her relationship with him. The Song of Solomon is full of examples where King Solomon was captivated in such a way. However, if not used wisely, sex may also be used as a tool of manipulation, and I’m sure many wounded hearts have experienced such deceit. Worse, those wives who believe they must become a doormat by way of acting quiet, sweet, and submissive are missing the point.

    There’s no doubt that this particular post is best accepted by wives whose relationship with their husbands is above average. However, it may also plant a seed for those who are looking for a way to reconnect with their spouses and push their relationship level to the “above average” status.

    Above all, please know that I am NOT claiming to be any sort of expert. I do, however, believe that God has given me a gift – to draw from my heart and vault of personal experience and pass on what I have learned from the school of super-hard knocks. What I have to opine may or may not apply to every reader, but I am not ashamed for having said it.

    Thank you, Kim. Very Sincerely~ Stacey

  • Kim

    Thank YOU, Stacy. It really points out the difficulty of offering up advice and counsel in a forum like this. We’re always speaking to individual situations. Trying to hit the middle somewhere. But, I pray that our counsel does hit the mark for just the right person or couple. You’re right. Absolutely no reason to have any shame for what you’ve written. We (my wife and I) do get involved in some very, very difficult ministry situations. Sometimes I transfer what we’re seeing onto other situations and I realize that isn’t always appropriate. Blessings to you! Kim