This blog is not written for women in abusive marriages. The advice offered in these posts will challenge both husbands and wives, but the advice could be counter-productive if it is applied in an abusive relationship.
I have a tendency to wake up ridiculously early, often even before four a.m. I’ll try, many times unsuccessfully, to go back to sleep. One morning I just went ahead and got up. An hour or so later, walking out of my office, I saw the master bedroom light turned on underneath the door. That meant Lisa was up and it wasn’t even 5:00 yet. She never gets up that early so I opened the door and she mentioned she was also having trouble getting back to sleep so she was trying to do her Bible study. It was difficult to feel alert without her coffee, but she didn’t want to drink coffee because that would guarantee she wouldn’t fall back asleep.
I turned off the lights and said, “Let’s go back to bed. I’ll curl you up, and if we’re not asleep in thirty minutes, we’ll get back up.”
I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep (and soon got up again), but I also knew that taking those ten minutes, lying by Lisa’s side, would put her back to sleep (which it did). I knew her day would go better if she got more sleep, so I took the opportunity to help make that happen.
Marriage is about “comforting” each other.
At the very genesis of marriage, God proclaims “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
God doesn’t want us to have to face the normal challenges of life without someone to help us. The Bible builds on this thought in the book of Ecclesiastes:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (4:9-12)
In your marriage vows, you are promising to bring comfort to your spouse. If they need more sleep, you want to help them sleep. If they are hungry and need to be fed, you want to help them get fed. If they are discouraged and need an encouragement, if they are threatened and need a protector, if they are overworked and need someone to help them relax, well, that’s what you’re signing up for: to be their comforter in exactly those moments.
I love this aspect of marriage. It moves me so much when I hear how other spouses take the opportunity to do this. Let’s look for ways to make it happen in our own marriages.