While everyone seems to be writing about making beds, I needed to unmake mine.
I knew it was time.
My days had no bookends – no stopping point or resting ground. I didn’t put my days to bed.
Then one day, I succumbed to a delight in the unmaking – an afternoon nap. When I laid my fast pace on the nightstand, I gained strength in the quietness (Isaiah 30:15 NIV). I wrote about my newfound rest and the space it created. My words led to a discussion about slow living with my friend and writing coach, Ann Kroeker.
I didn’t tell Ann that my husband and I tried slow sex two years ago, well certain aspects of it. On that day, I slowed down and took bed unmaking to another level. I changed the sheets, vacuumed and dusted the bedroom. Photographs of our wedding and anniversaries rested around the room. The aroma of fresh strawberries and pineapple drenched the air. Full-lipped orchids kissed the window. Wineglasses caught the swells of candlelight.
My husband walked into this oasis and heard the message of my actions: “You’re important to me. I want to make time for you.”
We gazed into each other’s wanting eyes. Sensual music aroused our core, driving our pace and breathing. The slowest touch, light like a feather, made every nerve-ending shout. We found beauty in the arc of our response.
In its slowness was connection. In its softness, power.
We took time and remained in the moment, not allowing the world to enter. We focused on the journey, not the outcome.
Now, two years later, my life breathed fast: I-am-off-to-the-next-thing, drive-through and forgettable. I crave slow: to-be-savored, I-am-here-with-you-now and memorable.
At times, I have become too busy and too tired for intimacy with my husband.
How is physical intimacy or sex – unmaking the marital bed – related to self-care?
I have read of sex’s many physical benefits: lowered blood pressure, better sleep and improved immunity. It can reduce stress, and even relieve headaches. For women, the release of oxytocin during orgasm counteracts stress and depression, and curbs appetites!
Being physically intimate with my husband brings me back into synch with him and cultivates a deep emotional intimacy. My friend Heather once told me, “When my husband and I go several days without sex, we feel an emotional distance between us.”
As a Christian, I believe the intimacy of a man and woman in marriage mirrors the oneness and intimacy—the giving and receiving—God enjoys within the Trinity.
While Andy and I don’t engage in slow sex on a regular basis, we do remember the unmaking of our bed as a spiritual, physical, and emotional blessing from God – one that offers self-care with lasting effects.