Unmade beds and unreconciled relationships

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:26, 32 NIV).

Slam…stomp, stomp, stomp… slam!

“What in the world?” I asked my wife, after hearing what sounded like a construction crew working in our kitchen. “Why are you slamming doors and being so loud?”

“I’m cleaning the kitchen!” She answered while slamming another door to punctuate her reply.

“Are you mad or something?” I asked.

“No.” She answered, not looking up from wiping the counter.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, my patience running out.

“Nothing!” She answered.

“Well, it sure seems like something.” I said as I left the room and returned to watching cartoons with the kids.

After a while, I noticed Robin standing at the edge of our living room with tear-filled eyes. As we made eye contact, she said, “I don’t think you care about me. I have to do everything around here. I wish I could just sit and watch cartoons on Saturday mornings like you!” Having delivered her message she turned, rushed away, and locked herself in the bathroom.

The living room fell silent except for the sound of cartoons from the TV. Three sets of little eyes all starred at me with a mixture of confusion and worry. I don’t know what our three children were thinking, but their eyes seemed to accuse me of making Mommy cry.

“You three sit here and watch cartoons.” I said while getting up to leave the room.

I was mad now. I began talking to myself, “What was she thinking, accusing me like that in front of the kids? And what did she mean, she does ‘everything’ around here? I work 70 hours a week, so she can be a stay-at-home mom and take care of our kids. So, I sit and watch cartoons on Saturday morning? So, what? Maybe I should just take a shower and go to the office. I mean, I work every other day, why not Saturday mornings too?…”

My male ego was injured. And obviously, my wife’s tender heart was also hurt. After seven years of marriage and three children, we still struggled sometimes with communication and how to reconcile. Why did marriage have to be so hard?

I’d like to say that we worked it out that Saturday morning, but we didn’t. I took a shower and went to work. The next time it happened, I went outside and worked in the yard all day, proving my male work ethic. I’m ashamed to say that there were more than a few of these “Saturday morning” blowups.

Finally, one Saturday morning we both did something different. Instead of Robin locking herself in the bathroom and me going off to work, we talked.

“What is the problem here?” I asked with exasperation in my voice.

“You never make the bed!” She exclaimed. “I make the bed every day. And you sleep late every Saturday, leave the bed unmade and expect breakfast and cartoons. I feel like your maid.”

“That’s it? That’s what this has been all about?” I felt angry that a simple thing like an unmade bed had come between us.

But on this Saturday, thankfully, the Holy Spirit overruled my masculine ego. I quickly added a better comment, “OK. I’m sorry. I will start making the bed on Saturdays. If it is that big of a deal to you, then I can certainly do better.”

So, I started making the bed on Saturdays. It may sound funny, but it worked. Saturdays were never the same. Apparently, my wife felt loved when I made the bed.

I had learned a new truth: “Unmade beds can lead to unreconciled relationships.” Perhaps that’s what the apostle Paul meant when he warned us about “letting the sun go down on our anger.” We need to face up to our “unmade” situations and reconcile them quickly before they escalate into something worse.

This coming June 2nd, Robin and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage. After a lot of practice, I think I make the bed better than her. I probably make it 6 out of 7 days a week now. And nearly everytime I do, I think about how I’m doing it because I love my wife. It’s a small thing, but with great benefits.

Who’s making the bed at your house?

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