We all need to be comforted from time to time. Depending on the situation, I may need a hug or just an evening cuddled in bed watching old Andy Griffith Show re-runs. If you don’t know me, you wouldn’t know what brings me ease; but, if you do know me, you would have no trouble calming me down, lifting my spirits, and encouraging me to press forward. One of the joys of marriage is the comfort it brings. If there is no comfort in your marriage, something is not working, and some deep communication and counseling may be needed.
Philippians 2:1-2 reads, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (ESV) While this verse was written to the church at Philippi, I believe it can be applied to marriage as well. After all, the foundation for the church is family and the foundation for family is marriage.
One of the most popular questions young people ask is “Why do people get married?” For an institution that seems to cause so many people heartache – and seemingly strip people of their freedom – why do so many people choose to enter into it? I believe comfort is one of the aspects of marriage people crave when they enter into marriage. No matter how rugged a man or assertive a woman may be, we all have the need to be comforted. At the end of a long, hard day, we want someone there to remind us that everything will be alright and to assure us that no matter what happens, their love will hold true.
So, it is important to know… what brings comfort to your future spouse? Does he seem to regain peace from a nice post-dinner walk? Does talking to a friend for an hour bring her back into serenity? Does a drive through the country or a small vanilla ice cream cone pull him or her out of their unsettled state of mind?
If you don’t already know – and it’s fine if you don’t yet – take some time to find out. Ask him or her what it is that calms them down and brings comfort. If they cannot tell you because they’ve never really noticed themselves, observe and take notes: when they are upset, what activity do they seem to gravitate towards? Some people take naps; whereas, others watch a familiar movie or TV show; or, others do newspaper puzzles or play video games. Whatever it is, it is good to know and understand their desire for those things.
On the flip side, abusing such comforts and stress-relievers can lead to marital discord as it’s difficult to be married to someone who sleeps all the time or watches a lot of TV or who can’t come to dinner until he completes the next video game level… and the next level… and the next level. It is important to allow your future spouse to be comforted in ways that are special to him or her; but, it is also important not to let those comforts become a constant way of life. At that point, they are just excuses to do what he or she wants whenever he or she wants it. No marriage will thrive when one person is always getting their way in every situation.
So, sit down and have a good talk tonight and discuss the activities that bring you comfort. Discuss how the other person can help facilitate these needed comforts (e.g., if you would like your beloved to join you on that nice after-dinner walk). Additionally, observe him or her in difficult situations. What do they seem to crave during hard days? As long as it is morally pure, do what you can to help provide that necessary comfort to them – now and after marriage.
What do you do for comfort and stress-relief?