October 26, 2017

Will You Comfort Her?

Gary Thomas — 

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.

Why?

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.

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11 responses to Will You Comfort Her?

  1. I really loved this. As I read it, I could see my husband in every characteristic described.

  2. Turn toward, not away from.

  3. Thank you for this post. My husband keeps to himself a lot when it comes to physical touch. I thought I was wrong because I like physical affection. I am glad that you shared these verses – it will help me to be more specific when I pray!

  4. My husband does the same kind of thing and makes the same kind of sacrifices. Even the smallest things mean so much. When a man is an extension of Christ’s love to his wife, she can’t help but love him back and want to honor him for his kindness, thoughtfulness, and comfort. Thanks for showing others by your example. Love the image of oneness in curling up together. A mindset of giving love starts with small steps, but makes a world of difference in strengthening husband and wife together as one.

  5. Often in my own need driven frustrations I can withdraw. Your post let me know how wrong that is. I find great comfort in intimate relationship with my wife. I need to move closer to her at every opportunity not farther away. I owed her an apology and have given it with desire and commitment to do better to be her comfort in ways meating full to her. Thanks Gary!

  6. What a beautiful word picture, Gary. “I’ll curl you up.”

    As you’ve said before, we can respond to our spouse with contempt or cherishing — and what a powerful difference that choice makes! ESPECIALLY in areas of weakness where we’re tempted to be irritated or frustrated and where our spouse MOST needs to feel safe being vulnerable with us. I refer to this as being my husband’s “safe space,” and he is mine as well. Just knowing that we can run into each other’s arms at any moment and for any reason and find a tender and compassionate reception makes our love so very sweet.

  7. After reading this, I had to email my husband and tell him thank you. Our marriage isn’t perfect but he has done things like this for me many times. It made me think of all the things he does do, instead of focusing on what he doesn’t do. Maybe not the point of the blog, but that’s what it did for me!

    • Mcourt, I’m thrilled that’s what this post did, whether it was intended or not! Greater appreciation for a spouse is what this blog is all about. Thank you for the sweet testimony.