Could Matt save his marriage?Published 4:52pm Sunday, November 28, 2010
Matt just didn’t get it!
As a young man of 22 years he had courted and married Jennifer, his high school sweetheart.
They had both eagerly said those vows to cherish, honor and love each the other “till death do us part.”
As a virile young man, Matt had looked forward to the intimacy privileges of marriage.
Jennifer had anticipated a loving partnership in which they each shared the duties and pleasures of companionship.
Both continued their full-time employments so that they could keep up the payments on their cars, furniture, utilities and house rent.
Thus, their time together was diminished by their working responsibilities.
Matt stayed up late evenings and into the nights watching television.
Jennifer was an “early to bed, early to rise” person and developed some deep dislike for Matt’s habit of waking her up when he crawled into bed after she had sunk into a deep sleep.
What did Matt not “get”? He did get physical relief from his testosterone-induced tensions.
He did then easily fall off into sleep afterward. He did not understand or appreciate how much loyalty and love he could have generated in the heart of Jennifer if he had respected her needs and allowed her to sleep undisturbed when he came to bed.
“ To cherish” includes the concepts of nurture and kindness; of seeking to make Jennifer content and happy in their relationship.
The two of them should be talking together about those features of their home life which might need some adjustment if they were each to be most satisfied.
Matt should not take it for granted that it was “his right” to wake up Jennifer just because he has a fire burning in his belly.
Jennifer might well question whether Matt’s concept of “love” was rather an exhibition of self-centered lust.
His behavior did not take her well-being into account.
She wondered and wondered about Matt’s behavior during the hours at night when she would afterward lie awake.
If there was one ripe and ready-to-eat pear in the table fruit dish, Matt would eat all of it rather than asking, “Would you like to share a pear with me? “
If Matt wanted to spend a Sunday morning on the golf links with his buddies and pay the greens fees for the foursome, he didn’t consult their tight budget.
But when she needed to get her hair permed, he could then grouse about the budget.
Jennifer felt taken-for-granted.
Matt was no longer one to sit and visit about many things as he had done during their courtship.
Thankfully, Matt was still young enough to be teachable.
When Jennifer suggested counseling, Matt agreed.
He didn’t like all the rattling around of pans in the kitchen when he wanted to sleep in and Jennifer realized that she could see his discomfort and change her ways on that one.
The two of them worked out the times for intimacy which did not include waking Jennifer out of a sound sleep.
But it was more than adjusting behaviors.
They both saw that their relationship could flourish best when there was unselfish concern for the other’s needs, feelings and desires.
Yes, Matt and Jennifer saved their marriage — but they had to work at it.
Bill Bradford retired to the rigors of a small farm in Pokagon Township.
He has served as director of clinical laboratories in physician group practices and hospitals.
For a decade he was an educator in clinical laboratory sciences at Andrews University.