Nope, not what you think...
Love is a verb. It is an action, and as such should be intentional. To that end, married couples should make a habit of “SLEEP ing” together – by that, I mean doing the following on a daily basis:
Sacrifice – This word, and “submission,” get bad press in the ‘me first’ world we live in, but make no mistake: any relationship, especially one that is by covenant for life, will require change and yes, sacrifice. Lifestyle, habits, hobbies, and even who we are as people have to change for a marriage to work. This is not a bad thing! Putting our spouses’ needs before our own puts us more in tune with who and what God wants us to be; selfless, giving, serving. When it is mutual, what we get is so much more than what we give. We are better people when we put others first, when we develop a servant’s heart.
Ephesians 5:21 - Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Listen – Marriages will only work if both spouses commit to listening to one another, without judgment or criticism, without interrupting and without trying to fix every problem. Sometimes, what the speaker needs most is just to be heard. When you listen, listen with your whole being. Stop what you’re doing. Turn off the TV, get away from the computer, put down that magazine. Listen with your face. Look at your spouse, make eye contact. Give them your full attention. Few things say “I love you” as much as this.
James 1:9 - Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry
Express – In a marriage, it is our responsibility to communicate our feelings – especially if we expect our spouse to acknowledge them and act on them. If negative things are held inside, they can fester and grow into major problems. Is something bothering you? Your spouse may be blissfully unaware, so tell them! If positive things are not expressed, your spouse may feel that things are wrong or that they are not appreciated. Tell your spouse when you are grateful for things they’ve done, for who they are. Expressions of gratitude positively affect both people. They have a way of minimizing our own grief and anger while reassuring and encouraging the ones we’re thankful for.
Phillipians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
God wants us to express our hearts and souls to him; do likewise with your spouse. ( and don’t forget WITH THANKSGIVING )
Empathize – Spend some time putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Imagine what it’s like to be them, to face their problems, to see the world through their eyes. What do they overcome on a daily basis. What’s it like living with you? Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings as if they were yours. It can radically transform any relationship. Do this regularly and you will develop a greater appreciation of your spouse; who they are, what they do and what they bring to your marriage.
John 1:14 - The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.
Christ came to Earth to experience being human; to be hungry and cold, to hurt, to be tempted. God empathizes with us because he knows what it means to be human; he experienced it first-hand.
Profess – Let your spouse know that you love them. Learn your partner’s love language and affirm them in ways that they will cherish. Profess your love in all situations. Make these statements unconditional and emphatic. Don’t worry about looking weak. Don’t wait for them to love you first so that you can reciprocate; be first. God didn’t wait.
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So, SLEEP: Sacrifice, Listen, Express, Empathize, and Profess. And while you're at it...
don’t let sleeping together get neglected, overlooked or forgotten either.