No doubt most of us remember what it was like to sleep together with our spouse in the old double bed. You were so close you could almost hear your spouse's heart beat and were awakened every time he/she would roll over.
Crawl into a double bed with your spouse now and you'll wonder how you ever did it. As uncomfortable as it may seem now, back in the day, it was all we had and, therefore, all we knew. We adjusted well to the closeness.
Then came the time that we mutually agreed to upgrade to a queen size. The luxury of this larger bed was really nice. More room equals more comfort. I could stretch out, roll over and focus on relaxation. I was becoming very comfortable in my queen size kingdom when my wife announced one day that she had made a deal with a friend to trade our nice queen size for a king size.
I hated this change and was even a bit disgruntled that she had rooted me out of my nice queen size sleep domain. The king size mattress was hard and the first night I slept horribly. I expressed my displeasure with her choice and she assured me she had plans to make this newest luxury a "great experience." She purchased some memory foam and a nice pillow-top pad to put over that, as well as four new white pillows. Two for each of us, so that now we could put the extra pillows between us and snuggle with it. It was so comfortable; together we named our new condo "the cloud".
While we both have come to love this new addition, I have discovered one problem. If I want to be close to my wife, I have to invite her to my side of the bed, to which she responds, "no you come over here." What a difference from the double bed where we didn't have that choice. The sad part is that sometimes we are so tired and the effort seems so great that we drift off to sleep on our individual cozy clouds and never touch. We can come and go in this new bed and never know the other has left for a few hours in the wee hours of the night. I wake up in the morning and have to squint to see if my wife is still with me. We have to be intentional if we want to be close.
Marriage relationships are like that. We start out close and we are in love; then, as life happens, we feel the need to create emotional space between us in order to be comfortable. Doubles are no longer adequate and we need queens and kings. We stop talking, touching, and seeing each other. We pass like ships in the night. We wake up and it seems like it takes too much energy to connect because the distance has become so great. We drift apart and become "comfortable" in our own worlds while longing for that closeness and connection. We stop learning about our spouse's likes and dislikes. We no longer talk about feelings. It's in these places that the crazy things begin to happen. We trade the closeness of hearts with pillows that come between us and create walls. We no longer feel loved or capable of giving love. We quit being intentional. Our hearts die and along with them, the relationship dies.
I recently sat with a young husband and father who just discovered his wife was in a secret affair and had left his king size bed. It had happened so gradually. As he reflected, he began recognizing the little changes in their relationship that created distance between them. They had moved from a double to a queen to a king size bed. Included in some of these changes were his own secrets that he had kept from his wife. He had lost his focus on creating the closeness a double bed offers.
Sometimes it's not even the large things that begin to make a couple feel distant but rather the simple, elementary things that we begin to minimize. The non-sexual, physical touch that comes from holding hands, or an intentional eye contact, or simply speaking to each other about what is going on inside. The importance of intentionally moving close is forgotten in the normal run of life and we forget the emotional needs of our spouse. We do so at our own peril. Just recently I learned that my wife likes to go to sleep holding my hand. I will often simply slip my hand under her pillow and she connects there. 1 Peter 4:8 says, "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
(This article was posted by permission from "Haven of Hope Ministries" www.havenofhopes.com. Haven of Hope is a faith-based, non-profit ministry committed to helping those who are hurting from their life experiences of the past, as well as, the present.)