I know the marital bed is a sensitive topic to all married couples, and it’s almost a taboo subject for unmarried people. But I’ve had this idea running around in my mind for several weeks now, so I’m going to break the ice. I’m not going to break the sex taboo and reveal all our bedroom secrets. But, instead, I want to talk about the other functions of the marital bed because it has become for us a central location in our home.
When I was fourteen years old, I went through bereavement counseling with my mom and sister at our church. We had recently suffered the deaths of my mom’s father and our next-door neighbor (my mom’s best friend, and my “second” mom) within three weeks of each other. It was a lot to take in. The counselor introduced herself, turned off a row of lights so that the group was now sitting in dimmed lighting, and said, “Please take a moment to close your eyes, calm your thoughts, and picture yourself in your favorite place.” I was 14. I didn’t really have a favorite place. So, I made it up and pictured myself a smaller child sitting on my mom’s lap.
I’m older now, and I have a favorite place.
My favorite place, the place I mentally go to when I’m overwhelmed at work, the place I physically seek when I need to recharge emotionally, is my marital bed.
I love our bed. The sheets aren’t changed every single week, like they are at my mom’s house. The bed isn’t made every single morning. The blankets are covered in cat hair, until my husband’s allergies bother him and we wash them. It was a hand-me-down from Robert’s grandparents (in fact, our entire bedroom suit was). And I love our bed, with all its imperfections that would disqualify it from a Martha Stewart Living spread.
In my marital bed I sleep, dream, nap, and rest. I lie down after an exhausting day, throw my right arm over my eyes, and let my body heal. My husband inevitably comes in and lies down beside me, taking my hand.
In my marital bed I learn. It is in our bed that my husband and I have our more lively debates about our individual beliefs, or theoretical preferences. We sit beside each other, propped up by pillows, and trace each other’s legs with a finger or hold hands or brush hair out of the other’s face.
In my marital bed I grow. When my husband and I need to communicate hurt feelings or frustrations or anger, we almost always retire to our bedroom. Without children yet, we don’t have much of a reason to do this, but it seems to be our habit. Robert might lie down, and I might sit at the edge of bed…until he playfully pulls me to lie down beside him. We hold hands when we argue, reminding each other that home exists when those two hands are united.
In my marital bed I find strength and comfort. Only rarely (and only out of necessity) do I lie down and fall asleep before my husband. At night, we roll toward each other, one resting a head on the other’s shoulder, trace fingertips with fingertips, and whisper quietly about any concerns remaining from our day. My husband’s body is strong and safe, and I feel strong and safe next to him. When, at the end of the day, I am feeling beaten down or discouraged or taken for granted by someone, I know I can lie down in my marital bed beside my husband and he will hold me until I am relaxed enough to fall asleep.
I love my marital bed. This has become for me my favorite place.