I don’t know about you but I sleep best when it’s dark or mostly dark in my bedroom. I keep a nightlight in the bathroom so I don’t trip on anything if I have to get up in the middle of the night. But other than that, it’s mostly dark.
In the mornings when my husband is getting ready for work he slips into the bathroom usually undetected. He picks his clothes out the night before so he doesn’t have to fumble around in the dark looking for something to wear. If he happens to need something out of his closet, he quietly digs around in the darkened bedroom with only the light from the bathroom guiding his way.
I have to say that I am not always as thoughtful as my husband when it comes to a dark, quiet, sleep-inducing bedroom. I love to read at night before I go to bed. It doesn’t matter how sleepy I am in the living room, how hard it is to drag my body into the bedroom, I have to read. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. I also like to go to bed with the TV on, sound turned almost completely down, the flickering lights lulling me to sleep. I set it on the timer and it shuts off about twenty minutes after I roll over on my right side and I’m off to lullaby land. If my husband wakes up while I’m still reading or perhaps giggling at America’s Funniest Videos, I scratch his back and lull him back to sleep.
Darkness is beautiful when you want to sleep. Darkness is not beautiful when you use it to hide things in your marriage that need to be revealed. Our marriages are too important to ignore things that need to be exposed to the light. Good marriages are rare and since half of all marriages end in divorce, it’s vital that we open the doors and windows on our issues and let the light of God show us what it is we need to do to make our marriages even better.
One thing that is important to know is that men and women are extremely different—in case you didn’t know. Women want love and men want respect. Ephesians 5:33 tells us: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
When my husband fumbles around in the dark in the mornings instead of blinding me with the overhead light, he’s showing me respect. He does it because he cares about me and loves me but also because it’s just the right thing to do. He was raised to be considerate of others and especially of women, and this is one way he shows it. His actions show respect, which is what he needs, yet I interpret it as love.
I love him. But he needs more than that. He needs to know first and foremost that I respect him. I highly respect him for his work ethic, for always providing for our family even when unemployment has hit. I revere him for staying faithful to me for almost twenty-five years of marriage and the dating years before that. These are ways he has shown me love. I would rather have these jewels than all the earthly treasures combined. So he loves me by respecting me therefore I should respect him and love him. So how do I show him respect?
It recently occurred to me after starting the 40-Day Respect Dare by Nina Roesner that by keeping the TV on for two hours after my husband goes to bed and for reading until 1:00 a.m. with my “runway light” glaring at him and burning holes into his retinas, I am not showing him respect. I am not allowing him to get the seven or eight hours of sleep that he needs in order to have a successful day at work. So although there are many ways I can practice the art of respecting my husband, one the best ways has been so obviously staring me in the eye and I’ve overlooked it until recently.
So I am daring myself to be as polite as my husband when it comes to the darkness that’s required in order to get a good night’s sleep. He allows me quiet and darkness in the mornings so I can catch a few extra zzzz’s so I will be practicing the art of creating a peaceful slumbering environment for him. I doubt I will be able to sleep without reading before bedtime because it’s something I have done for years. But I will attempt to keep my reading time short and turn off the nightstand lamp in a timely manner and extinguish the TV’s bright beacon sooner each evening.
Darkness is beautiful when you want to sleep but it is not beautiful when it hides your flaws and the things that are needed to find peace in your marriage. I dare you to search for ways to respect your husband.