Often women will tell me how their husbands act when they fall ill. Usually I hear that their men want attention; they want their wives to dote on them, serve them, and make them feel loved and cared for. Many long for that sense of touch that could be an extension of the ever-popular love languages of the 90s Christian self-help culture. Just because it was a “thing” in the 90s, though, doesn’t mean we can’t find value in this love language idea. Having begun our marriage at the end of the 80s, the formative years of our marriage played out in the decade that followed, and we took the time to analyze our own love languages. Todd’s primary language is touch while mine is service. These nearly polar opposite expressions of love challenged us for many years, but today, as I sat at lunch beside him while he felt generally ill and faced driving off to work on a Sunday afternoon when he’d rather be at home, he reached over and grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. A few minutes later, he did it again. The second squeeze reminded me he needed some attention, so I reached over and checked his temp with a gentle caress. He responded with a contented “hmmm.” When he feels ill, he is drawn to the one in his earthly life who provides him comfort: me.
I, on the other hand, want to be left alone. When I feel ill, please shut me up in a dark, silent room where I can pull the covers over my head, and don’t bother me until I emerge and announce my readiness to rejoin the family. Sometimes Todd tries to “serve” me the way he feels most loved, and he’ll come lie beside me and start rubbing my head. Now to me, that feels like he is trying to bore through to my brain because I am not drawn to touch for comfort. When he’s ill, I’m not naturally inclined to respond with a gentle caress, but I would rather get the house clean while he sleeps or make him soup or DO something to make him feel better. Years of studying this man has taught me to sit on the couch with him, and just be physically close.
When he reached for my hand earlier today, I realized something about my walk with God, and I can learn a lot from my husband who realized his need for comfort. I am so inclined, when I’m spiritually ill, to draw away from the very One who provides me the comfort and healing I need. I don’t want to hear the diagnosis of my problem; I want to ignore it and keep moving forward as though nothing were wrong. Just close me into my cold, dark room of busy routine, and I can forget about everything I truly need to draw me back to health. Todd has always been the one to move closer to God in his spiritual struggles, quite like his movement closer to me for physical comfort. He’s okay with the diagnosis when God prompts him that something is awry in his spiritual condition, and he digs through God’s Word for the right prescription.
The prayer of my heart should beg God to show me where I need to grow, heal, and forgive. May I never hide from God in my moment of need and ask Him to leave me alone!
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.