I have been reflecting on the nature of service and its implications. I am of course speaking of service in personal relationships, not as part of financial transactions. Outwardly, it appears that the servant performs a task, so the person served does not have to expend effort on that task. The benefits and the beneficiary are clearly apparent.
But from the perspective of the servant much more is happening. I am not only performing a task to benefit another, but I am doing it as an expression of affection. I want to see the other person happy, and I want to be the one to make them happy. This is the reward the servant receives. And if the person served expresses appreciation for the task performed, that is an additional, tremendous reward.
I believe there is something deep in the psychology of men that makes them want to serve the women in their lives. Some might suggest that I am projecting my own feelings onto others, but I think there is substantial evidence to support this theory. Men hunted for women, men fought wars on the behalf of women, and traditionally men went to work, typically in very dangerous and difficult occupations, to give women a more comfortable life. And as I have previously pointed out, even dominant men are ultimately just serving women in a different way, and this becomes even clearer when contrasted with the practices of dominant women.
But what is the nature of service itself? The value of the service is not just the served person’s saved time, which is obvious, it’s the cost to the servant as well. When I serve, I give to the other person pieces of myself. I give them my time. I give them my effort. I give them my will. I give them my own desires and preferences. I devalue myself, I annihilate myself, and this is the real sacrifice, this is precisely what makes service an expression of affection.
And viewed this way, service is not only expressed when performing tasks like house work. Anytime I give myself away to the other person, I am essentially serving them in some way, even if it is small and maybe doesn’t appear like service. To give a small but significant example: when I listen to the music she wants to listen to, I give that part of me to her.
I think this is why in relationships with women I lose myself in the other person. I give away all these pieces of myself until there is barely a person left. I shed my own clothes and wear her’s instead, even if the fit isn’t perfect.
In my mind, I have no value, or at least, much less value than the other person. So, I honor her by my own annihilation, by destroying what precious little me there is. I purchase her happiness through my suffering because the value of her happiness far outweighs the cost of my suffering.