Serving our family is of utmost importance. However, sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in day to do this well. After a long day at work, or a stressful day corralling the kids, it can be difficult to muster enough emotional energy to do something extra for those we love.

However, what if you were able to serve those closest to you more effectively without adding anything to your calendar? What if all that was needed wasn’t more time, but simply a change in perspective and attention?

Keep reading for three ways you can make that a reality.

Three Ways To Serve Your Family Without Adding More On Your Plate.

  1. Prioritize being with them above doing for them.

My wife loves it when I take something off her plate. Figuratively speaking that is. (Side note…. my wife is pregnant and if I were to take something off her plate literally,  I’m afraid she may bludgeon me.) In all seriousness, she greatly appreciates it when I do something for her, that she was planning to do herself. This is one small way she feels loved and valued.

However, doing things for her should never replace my presence with her. Often, men in particular, love providing. We will do whatever we can to make sure our families receive what they need and even some of what they want.

With this mindset, we are usually thinking… “what can we do?” What task, activity, or material can we provide that will bring them joy. The motive is completely unselfish. However…

In serving our families, we can get caught in a cycle of doing, that creates a relational distance.

In an attempt to give them what they want, we could actually be taking what they need (us). Your family needs your presence in their lives more than your service. Of course doing for them is appreciated & necessary. However, there is something your presence provides that no amount of money, materials, or even manual labor could give. So, prioritize being with them above doing for them and you’ll find they will feel even more loved and valued.

2. Turn down something you love to do.

The truest demonstration of love is giving up something you love, for something you love more. For example…

I LOVE Reese’s Cups and when I say LOVE… I really mean LOVE. With that in mind, it REALLY means something when I give one away. For starters, it means I’ve held it in my hand for longer than 5 seconds. Currently, my record is only 45 seconds by the way. We all have our battles to face.

The point is that whenever you love someone, you choose to sacrifice what you love for them. This is especially true with our time. It’s one thing for us to give up our favorite candy. It’s another thing for you to turn down an opportunity to blog, sleep, play your favorite sport, or a number of other things you find great joy in. Whatever it might be for you, sometimes you should turn down something you love to do, to have more time with your family.

Here is a challenge…. Turn down something you love to do this week and choose to spend that time with your family. Even if they are ok with you doing whatever it might be, turn it down to show them you care about them more. Imagine the look on your spouse’s face when you say, “Instead of me doing_________ I’d like to spend some time with you.”

I bet this will go well for you.

3. Celebrate the expected

What’s expected is rarely celebrated. This is a tragedy. How often do spouses and children serve their families, without experiencing the joy that should accompany it? My guess is, pretty often.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that with an absence of joy, the response will be anger or frustration. You don’t have to express anger when your not experiencing joy. The absence of Godly joy doesn’t always result in negative emotions. Sometimes, it just means doing what’s expected will produce the intended result, but nothing more. Doing laundry will result in clean laundry. Going to the grocery store will result in food to make dinner. However, without celebration it won’t be accompanied by relational joy.

Think about it. Whenever you do the UNEXPECTED for your family, you experience the joy of the result and the relational joy that comes with celebration. When you bring home the unexpected ice-cream, celebration commences! This produces a different type of joy that can only take place as you feel valued and appreciated.

So naturally, when you celebrate what’s expected, your family will experience the joy intended from being part of the team. Feelings of obligation or indifference turn into joyful participation. For your family, this is a subtle shift from doing what’s expected, to serving those you love.

Here is your final challenge… celebrate something one of your family members does that is expected. This doesn’t have to be extravagant. Next time you get a text message from you wife saying, “I’m going to the grocery store”, respond with something like…

“Thanks for doing that. I really appreciate you taking the time to make sure we have yummy food.”

Simply celebrate what they were already planing to do and they will experience the relational joy they need.

What about you?

What would you add to the list? What are you learning about serving and loving those in your home?