Playing Second Violin


Key Bible Verse: Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Dig Deeper: 

When Leonard Bernstein, a once famous orchestra conductor, was asked about the most difficult instrument to play, he surprised many by saying it was the second violin. “I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”

Learning to cherish means learning to be content playing second violin. This is at its root a very biblical thing to do. Jesus alluded to this when he said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). If we want to be like Jesus, we have to look for opportunities to play second violin. And though Jesus isn’t explicitly addressing marriage in the above passage, marriage is certainly an ideal place to cultivate this attitude.

Beautiful, harmonic marriages are like the ballet and the symphony. They’re not just one dancer or one note. They are built by asking ourselves on a regular basis, “Am I trying to showcase my spouse, or am I fixated on how my spouse is not showcasing me?”

Source of quote: Dennis and Barbara Rainey, The New Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem (Nashville: Nelson, 1995), 268.

– Gary Thomas in Cherish

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