Waking up is hard. Especially at 4:00 am.
Steve and I have been getting up at 4:30am ever since we started living together.
This week he voluntarily changed his wake up time to 4:00am. The earlier time allows him to get to work without any traffic (no surprise!) and most importantly spend some time with his other crew.
It was tough when I had the Taekwondo school in Little Rock. Steve would come to the school after work and hang out in my office while I taught class. Many times I’d walk by and he would be asleep, head tilted back, in the chair. He could easily have gone home and been in bed by the time I got in at 8:30 or 9:00. I could have stayed in bed when he got up. We both sacrificed sleep to be on the same routine.
I realize some couples work different shifts and have to accommodate childcare, and getting up and going to bed at the same time is impossible. Since I’m retired, I have the luxury of adjusting my schedule to my husbands. But I know other couples that seldom go to bed or get up at the same time. By choice. And I’m just going to say I think that is a very bad thing for a relationship.
Here in Colorado our family has a routine. Steve and I both go to bed at the same time. Once we are settled, Keely does her special knock on the door. Even if the door is open she does the special knock, because that is part of the routine. Then she comes in and lays her head on Steve’s chest and we talk a little. They exchange “I love you” and “goodnight” then she comes around to my side of the bed and repeats the process. Next she stands in the doorway and we start the recitation of “night, night, don’t let the bedbugs bite, if they do, take a shoe and hit them til they are black and blue,”. One more “goodnight, I love you” all around and Keels goes to bed.
Steve and I usually read for a while, feet and legs intertwined. The important thing is we make contact, we touch. We might talk a little, share something with the other from Facebook or email, or just read. Its a time when we reinforce the fact that we are a couple, that we love each other, that we want to be together. This is not about sex, this is about our need to feel loved and wanted. Sometimes one of us continues to read while the other one sleeps.
Once, early on in our relationship, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up and went into the other room to read so I wouldn’t bother Steve. A few minutes later he came out and said “what are you doing?”
“I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to bother you”
“Michelle, I can sleep while you read. I can’t sleep if I don’t have you in bed with me.”
That was a pivotal statement for me. We have since talked a lot about how important that touch and sense of comfort during the night is to each of us.
In the morning, the alarm goes off and we both stagger out of bed. Steve heads to the shower, I pack his lunch and make our coffee. There is always a hug and kiss, “I love you babe” then he is out the door.
Ok, so why in the world am I telling you all of this?
I think going to bed and getting up together reinforces that we care about each other and WANT to be with the other. I’ve been guilty in other relationships of living a schedule different from my partner. Pretty soon it seemed like I was living a different life.
A friend talked to me about her resentment of her husband who stayed up for hours after she went to bed , he was playing on the computer. He of course was still asleep when she got up for work and she had to take care of kids breakfast and getting ready for school. She would ask him to come to bed and he would say ” in a minute”. She would wake hours later and his side of the bed would still be empty. And she would get angry. Then she would be more angry when he was still asleep when she got up. Think that resentment filtered into their relationship?
Another friend told me yesterday that he felt he had all the childcare burdens because his wife got up at 4:00am for work. He was responsible for the morning routine and getting his little guy to daycare. His wife went to bed earlier than he did so he had the bedtime routine also. My advice? Get on her schedule. Why? So you will have a marriage.
Take a look at this article by Psychology Today. “10 Habits Of Happy Couples”
Number One is Go To Bed At The Same Time.
So yes, we go to bed when the sun is still up during the summer. Our 11 year old stays up later than we do. Our guests are told that we have dinner early (6:00pm to 6:30pm) because 8:00pm we head to bed. My friends have figured out that I don’t respond to texts after 8:30pm because I am snoozing away. Of course they don’t respond to my texts at 4:30am either!