Brie Gowen is happily married to her husband Benjamin. They have 3 beautiful girls and another one on the way. With a wonderful family and 6 years of wedded bliss under their belts, they basically fit the mold of the all-American power couple.
So when Brie jolted out of bed one morning to see her husband’s side was empty, why would this wipe a grin of satisfaction on her face?
Not only was he not in bed with her, but he never made it there in the first place.
“The side of the bed to my left was empty. In fact it was untouched,” said Brie. “That side of the bed was still tidily made, and that told me two things. One, I really had slept like a rock. And two, my husband had not come to bed at all last night.”
What may probe many women to worry or frustration had the exact opposite effect on Brie as she walked out into the living room to discover exactly why Benjamin never came to bed with her that night.
Sprawled across the carpet, there lay her husband and their three daughters cuddled around him, with one snoring lightly as she snuggled against his chest. It immediately dawned on Brie that he had organized this living room slumber party in order to make sure that she got a peaceful night’s rest.
Benjamin even went has far as to to keep their littlest quiet with a medicine dropper to soothe her aching molars.
Gratitude flooded her heart as Brie sank into a series of flashbacks that took her one-by-one through all of the little selfless displays of affection that kept them alive and in love throughout the years.
A full gas tank. A mowed lawn. Favorite meals cooked. A mended bed. A tuned-up car. A tidied house. Love notes. Laundry done.
They were never big things, but that was the point. Her husband mastered the mundane in the name of making her life easier. He was king of the honey-do list, without ever dishing out a honey-what-can-you-do-for-me list.
Brie realized that a tiny gesture like noticing an empty fuel tank was in fact the fuel that kept their marriage running. It wasn’t the act. It was the appreciation. It was the sacrifice.
And most of all, it was the assurance that she was worth it. She was worth the dirty dishes, the baby drool, the busted bed frame, the cracked radiator tank, and all the cruddy little daily tasks because making her day made his world—and that made their marriage.
He didn’t expect anything in return, but he made her want to reciprocate with her own list of “little things.” Their marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s these small acts of love generated graciously from both sides that have built their foundation:
“My husband and I work to communicate on all issues, make time together alone, without the children, and are quick to praise the other spouse’s efforts.
I leave my husband love notes and he always compliments the things I do around the home. I make nice dinners and dress attractively for him, but the fact that he notices and speaks appreciation towards me encourages me to serve him more readily,” she tells IJ Lift.
Even deeper rooted than those small acts of love, is the faith that stands at the core of their relationship.
Gowen says, “We pray consistently for one another, thank God for one another, but remember that our priority is our relationship with Jesus.”
So of the mounds of marriage advice founded in pop culture and psychology, it sounds like Brie and Benjamin have found a much simpler solution to the unshakeable bond that flies in the face of divorce statistics: Jesus.
He is their Counselor, their strength, the reason behind their small acts of love…and the reason Brie knows Ben will be back in her bed tonight.