Doghouse is full, so I’m sleeping on the roof

Some of the hottest summers of my life have been spent in the countries of Iraq or Kuwait. The heat is oppressive! There’s no escape from it. It’s not uncommon to experience 130° temperatures in the day and 90° temperatures at night over the summer months.  During these oppressive summers, I’ve witnessed something unusual. Men and boys will often move their mattresses to the rooftop and sleep on their roof at night.

It sounds weird, but it makes a lot of sense. Most homes in the middle east are made from concrete. The rooftops are flat and are usually surrounded by a short wall for protection. That means that the coolest spot of the house during those long summer months is the rooftop.  Here’s another fascinating fact: Women and girls almost never sleep on the roof during the summer months. It’s only the men in the family who sleep on the roof.  I have a naturally curious mind. So, I’ve often wondered, “Are they on the roof to avoid the temperatures, or are they on the roof to avoid their wives?”

Maybe he’s avoiding his wife

I’m not making this up… It’s in the Bible. Some men live with a wife who is so critical, that they would rather sleep on the roof alone than in the same bed with her.  Here’s the way the Bible puts this in Proverbs 21:9: It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

Can you imagine how difficult a marriage must be if you would rather pack your mattress on your back and take it up to the roof than sleep in the same room with your own wife? This Proverb suggests that marriage can get really hard.

Marriage can be hard- but also holy

Any married couple who is honest would tell you it takes a lot of hard work to make the marriage successful.  Doesn’t that seem a little counterintuitive to you? Shouldn’t it be easy for two people who were in love to live together in the same house with one another? Well, actually, no!

The reason marriage is so challenging is because you bring problems into your relationship. I don’t even need to know who you are, every wife has her issues. Every husband has his problems. We bring those problems into a relationship with us. These problems are called sin in the Bible. Because we bring sin into the relationship with us, marriage is actually incredibly difficult. Marriage, is the blending together of two centers in the most intimate of all human relationships. When you put two imperfect people together, there are going to be problems.

The problems in marriage can actually help us become better people. Your spouse can become a mirror to your soul. Your husband can help you see areas in your life that you didn’t realize needed work. Your wife can show you some shortcomings that you may never see any other way. This is how marriage can help make us holy. Every sinner needs the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes some difficult circumstances before some people realize the depth of their own sin. Therefore, anyone who’s willing to honestly learn about himself by hearing from his or her spouse will quickly realize that he is in need of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the wedding band gets heavy

Wedding rings are usually made of precious metal. They’re small and light. If you are in an unhealthy marriage, those rings can become very heavy.   The wedding ring represents a commitment made before God and others. That commitment typically says, “No matter how bad it gets, I won’t bail on this relationship.” And that commitment can become hard to keep very quickly.

Maybe this is why the husband of a difficult wife takes his mattress to the roof when the marriage gets hard. Give this guy credit; at least he’s not getting a divorce. He’s hanging in there even when it gets hard. Maybe he didn’t go to the roof to escape the oppressive heat of summer; maybe he’s on the roof to escape the pressure of a difficult marriage relationship. The next time it gets tough in your marriage, take the mattress on the roof.

Staying in a difficult relationship is never easy. But it may be best for you in the long run. Maybe this difficult relationship will show you some areas of your character that need to change. Perhaps God will use this challenging marriage to mold you into a better man or woman.

Further reading