By Kermit Rowe
Encompass Relationship Facilitator
I’ve pastored for 18 years here in Springfield and ministered to couples as part of the Encompass Connection Center ministry for the past five. I’ve seen and witnessed the best and worst of intentions, passion that is both inspiring and misdirected, and communication that ranged from respectful to downright rude.
I’ve seen hundreds of couples come through our doors in my time here, and thousands have come to us for help. And I’ve noticed they fall into three major categories...
For these couples, success can be achieved, and their relationship improved if they start here: serving each other. Most folks get married because they are in love and feel that he or she is going to make their lives better. But isn’t that a selfish motive to base a lifetime commitment on? So, with that attitude love can quickly devolve into manipulation as we become focused on getting instead of giving. That is poison to a relationship that is supposed to be based on love. And if that poison isn’t removed, the relationship dies.
How can we turn selfish into selfless? Through service. If he is focused on serving her, and she is focused on serving him, their relationship will experience what I call “the flip.” No longer will they have to manipulate and argue and play mind games to get their needs met. It is readily given to them in love through servanthood.
This principal is taken straight out of the Bible. The goal of our life should be to hear from our Lord, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” A Christian is never more like Jesus than when he or she serves … and serves sacrificially. That’s a truth that will set any relationship free to be all it can be.
Straight out of the Bible … now that’s a great place to start to improve any relationship. Jesus, called the bridegroom in the Bible, came from heaven to save and serve. We should be able to do that for the person we’ve promised to love until death do us part.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.