Rachel and I share a king-sized bed. Oh man, a king-sized bed is the best. I know everyone can’t currently have one because their bedroom or budget may not accommodate it, but I hope that everyone eventually gets one. Really. The reason why is because of S-P-A-C-E. Space! I love space. I need space. While I technically can fall asleep while spooning Rachel, I much prefer to have as much room to myself as possible. I just don’t like to be touched – or even to feel any movement by another person – when I am trying to fall asleep.
This seems reasonable. This is understandable, right? I think so.
But I do like to cuddle. And so does Rachel. And so we have a habit of cuddling each and every night before going to sleep. What happens is that we are both laying down on our sides of the bed, saying our prayers or finishing up a chapter on our Kindle or turning off our phones, and then Rachel scooches over to my side. And we both get perfectly situated and comfortable and nuzzle up together with my arm around her neck and her leg draped over me, and we say “I love you” and start to doze off.
Ten to fifteen minutes later, we are both about to go under, and realize we have got to separate in order to get a good night’s sleep. And so I stay where I am, and Rachel scooches back over to her side, and we drift away.
This was our standard practice for a couple of years. And then one day, Rachel asked me to scooch over to her side, instead of her scooching over to my side.
And oh man, it was the WORST!!!!!
I disliked it on so many levels. First off, I was exhausted and didn’t really have the energy or desire to do any scooching to get to her side. Secondly, when we were done cuddling, I had to scooch all the way back to my side! Third, the sheets were cold over on my side, and when I got back there I had to warm up and then spend time and energy getting situated and comfortable and in the perfect position to fall asleep again!
I never had to do that when Rachel came over to my side. I never had to deal with any of that.
And it was so wonderful.
It was honestly the best thing ever.
My point is, I had no idea what a kind, loving, selfless thing Rachel was doing for two solid years for me. I just took it for granted.
In romantic relationships, and perhaps even more so when you are trying to run a household and build a family and create an amazing life together, there is a natural tendency to take the other person for granted. And to think that you are doing more they are. Of course, they are probably thinking that they are doing more than you.
And most often, the reality is that both of you are wrong.
I have told Rachel in the past that there are many things that I do that she has no idea about – things that keep our household functioning well, things that keep our “stuff” from breaking down or falling apart, things that try to ensure a good future for us. But I’ve also acknowledged to her that I have no idea about certain things she does for my good, for our family’s good. I really don’t.
I don’t see the things that she sees, and I don’t think about things the way she thinks about them.
And she could say the same about me.
In many relationships, this lack of similar perspectives may seem like a major problem. And sometimes even feels like a fatal flaw.
But it’s actually a good thing, if we can just realize how it rounds us out, how it makes us better together, how it renders us more complete.
We just have to resist the tendency to think that we’re doing the most, that we’re the one sacrificing, that we’re pouring ourselves out – and they’re not.
Usually, they are doing their part, and doing their best, and doing more than we know. We just are not aware of it. We don’t know what we don’t know. And truthfully, I don’t want to know all of the things that Rachel does for me that I currently don’t know about. Because it’s not a competition, and we can’t be trying to “prove” our love to each other. Once we start keeping a ledger, and once it starts to be “tit for tat,” the relationship gets really unhealthy, really quickly.
And what started out as acts of love turn into acts of obligation.
We cannot let that happen.
I just want to stay humble, and not get prideful. I want to think the best of her, and not assume the worst. And I want to remember the promises I made to her, and do the Lord proud in how I serve her and love her.
She wants the same.
And so we cannot take each other for granted. Rather, we are committed to be thankful each and every day for what the other person brings to the relationship.
Especially for all of the things we don’t know about.