Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Going unnoticed by your spouse

With that title, you would think this was going to be a post about how our marriages can slowly split apart or how one spouse feels neglected and under appreciated. But that is not the direction I am going with this one. I'm talking about serving your spouse on a daily basis without drawing attention to it.

Marriage is a wonderful institution.
A good marriage takes both spouses giving 100%.
A good marriage is not always easy.
A good marriage takes sacrifice.
A good marriage takes effort.
A good marriage takes going unnoticed.

Going unnoticed is about doing things for your spouse without expecting to be seen or acknowledged. This is a valuable part of a good marriage. Yet, it something that can be very difficult to accomplish. Like other areas of your life, you probably like to receive a little praise when you do something good. Everyone likes a "pat on the back" recognition for their behavior, even when it is not above and beyond what is expected.

Stop for a minute and think over the last week. How many times have you done something and waited for some form of affirmation from your spouse. Maybe it was taking the trash out, clearing your spot at the table, helping put the kids to bed, driving your kids around to sporting events or just being home on time. None of these tasks are extra special - most people would say they are regularly expected in a marriage. But if you are like me, there are times you do these tasks and want your spouse to notice. It's not that you wouldn't do them without recognition, its just nice to receive.

But I want to argue that it is far better to strive to go unnoticed. When you strive to go unnoticed by your spouse, you are taking a step toward being more like Christ. When Jesus healed, He did not heal for recognition. He was not serving the people, so that He could get a pat on the back or a thank you note. Ultimately, He served people because He loved them and wanted to meet a need.

What can you do in your marriage to go unnoticed? I've got 10 ideas to get you started.

10 Ways to Serve Your Spouse & Go Unnoticed:
1. Clean up the table after a meal.
2. Take the trash outside.
3. Clean up the bathroom sink after you brush your teeth.
4. Keep the toilet seat down (men) or up (women).
5. Wash the dishes.
6. Do a load of laundry, including folding and putting away.
7. Vacuum the floors.
8. Fix those little household projects without letting them build up.
9. Keep the finances up to date (pay the bills on time, keep track of your budget).
10. Be thankful for the things he/she does for you

You may read that list and think if you did any of them you would most certainly get noticed by your spouse. Well, here is the secret (in my opinion) to doing these things and going unnoticed by your spouse. You need to do them regularly and without drawing attention to them. At first, it may be a big attention getter, but the more you do it the more it goes unnoticed. And ultimately, that is the key - to love your spouse enough to serve him/her on a daily basis. There may be weeks that go by without hearing anything from your spouse about your actions. I think you want these actions to become normal and expected. You do not need extra praise or acknowledgment, because that is not the reason you do it in the first place.

Next time you do something for your spouse - don't do it to get noticed.


  1. I am taking the plunge in 26 days, and this is one thing that I worry about already. After years of worrying about just myself, I have to get into the habit of caring for and serving another. Thanks for the post and the advice.

  2. @brandon it is not going to be easy, but if you focus on it and make it a priority - it will happen. You'll do great! and congrats early :)