Dr. Wall draws on the example of a star football player demonstrating a sacrificial spirit at a local high school football game in Arkansas, a lesson that is relevant for us all.

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.

Matthew 20:26

Yesterday I recommended an article from the Arkansas Rivals website (a Yahoo Web Site devoted to College Basketball and Football recruiting) for an article about an extraordinary event that took place at a local high school football game in Arkansas last Friday night.  The following comments will make more sense if you read the article first (here).

College football recruit Thamail Morgan’s actions at a high school football game last Friday night demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice for the service of another.  In a context where winning is everything and competition and victory is the outcome, Morgan took off his ego to show respect and dignity for the mourning other team.  His kneeling on bended knee on the 5 yard line instead of scoring symbolically showed his shared sadness over the other team’s personal tragedy.  Winning wasn’t everything.  Dignity was.

I thought Morgan’s example would be a good one for couples.  I’ve long thought that sacrifice was an essential element for a winning marriage (see here for an early posting on selfishness in marriage on my regular web site before I had this blog).  In my work too often I see rivalling spouses vying for the upper hand.  As they battle it out they portray their own immaturity and stubbornness and unwillingness to budge unless the other does so first.  I try to introduce the concept of servanthood and selflessness and sacrifice, that they need to take the low road and eat a little humble pie.  It’s rewarding to see those couples that finally get it.  Sometimes they both get it at the same time and both begin to reach out to the other.  More often, a light bulb goes on in one of their heads, and that spouse begins to demonstrate a servant spirit to his or her spouse.  It is at that moment a breakthrough occurs.  Not always does the other spouse respond in kind, but usually it is only a matter of time before the other person begins to see also that if we are going to be happily married, we each have to serve the other.

That’s your job.  For too many spouses they see their job as making sure their spouses serve them!  No, you have no control over that.  Your job is to make sure that you are a servant to you spouse.  You have control over whether you are a loving spouse or not.  You have no control over whether your spouse is a loving spouse to you.

So take control.  Be a control freak….of yourself!

Like Morgan, kneel on the 5 yard line to show that you are a fellow human being and that you don’t have to be on top all of the time.  You might even see that if you do that there might be a few tears in the stands.  Now wouldn’t that be a change.


Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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