Stranger In My Bedroom
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4
In my addiction, I didn’t engage in an extramarital affair, but to my wife, it felt like I had an affair with the drugs. She felt that I had something in my life that I pursued above her. And she was right. When I woke up in the morning, my first thoughts weren’t about our relationship, but rather about my pills. They consumed everything. I didn’t acknowledge that I loved drugs above all, but I acted that way, which is what was my wife experienced. In recovery, I’ve had to learn to live very differently. Drugs aren’t my only life problem. I’ve always simply done whatever I want, not thinking about how it affects her. To show my wife that I truly love her now, I’ve had to learn to think of her feelings. How would this decision affect my wife?
I wrote recently about how, as Christians, we must be hospitable to strangers, inviting those around us into hour lives and into our homes. Today’s passage is the exception to this. When we invite someone into our home, we congregate in the family room or kitchen. We don’t hang out in our bedroom. Today’s passage reinforces this, insisting that the marriage bed is a sacred place, to be kept between a husband and wife.
The passage is literal – the marriage bed is reserved for only a husband and wife. It’s also figurative though – the marriage relationship is to be set apart for two people alone. The question is – How do we (inappropriately) invite others into our relationship? This failure can be obvious as in having a real extramarital affair. But it can also be much more insidious than that. A man can engage with a myriad of digital partners as he indulges in online pornography. A woman can have friendships at the office that become much closer than are appropriate. In both instances, there may be no physical invasion of the bedroom space, but in each case one partner brings a stranger into the bedroom, where he or she simply does not belong.
If we want joyful, healthy marriages, today’s passage says we must guard against this. We must, like me in my recovery, learn to ask – How would this decision, behavior, or relationship affect my spouse? How would I act if he or she were with me right now? To have the relationships we were meant to have, we must be fiercely protective of our marriages, never allowing strangers into it. If we don’t protect the marriage, we may find that we become the stranger in our own bedroom.