3 Minute Read
So apparently it’s a thing now. Like, 25% of married couples are WAAY into it.
Even my grandparents, who would now be well over a century old if they were still alive, were into it as young as their 40’s.
I remember discovering their little secret as a newlywed, and after the initial shock wore off, thought to myself…that won’t be us; we’ll never do that.
Well, it turns out my grandparents were ahead of their time, and I’ve to add it to my list of things I swore I’d never do or say, but every so often, ‘find myself doing or saying.’
You see, about every 10th night…I retreat to our guestroom to get a good night’s sleep because occasionally he snores, and I apparently purr; either way, it’s keeping us both up at night.
I hate to admit it, but some nights, I’m downright giddy.
I bid my husband farewell, stroll down the hall and gently shut the guest room door. Nestling into bed, I fluff the pillows just so and leave the bedside lamp on as long as I want- because I can.
Once all comfy, I’ll leisurely alternate between listening to a favorite podcast and scrolling through social media until I drift off; with no worries of the blue glow from my iPhone disturbing my husband’s slumber.
After an evening apart, I feel a little bit like we’ve just channeled Queen Elizabeth and her prince as they sauntered out of their separate bedrooms; she in her silk robe and he in his smoking jacket.
Except, in reality, my prince is already sweaty from his early morning workout and my oh-so-not royal self is stumbling around in old pj’s trying to find glasses and coffee…and not necessarily in that order. Romantic, it is not.
I wake up refreshed, yet discontent. For me, there’s something lost when we don’t sleep next to each other; something is missing.
I don’t want to just ‘cuddle’ and go our separate ways…
I want to fall asleep next to my husband, reach for his hand to hold in the middle of the night and wake up with him by my side. Sleeping next to each other over the last twenty-seven years has created a bond beyond words, and the less time we sleep near each other, the less emotional intimacy our marriage experiences.
We spend the majority of our working days apart, and sometimes the only chance we get to reconnect is falling asleep…back-to-back.
So, when the demands of the day overwhelm us, or we’re just a little bit irritated with each other…there is nothing like holding his hand in the middle of the night to melt our frustrations away.
My intent is not to debate the pros and cons of couples electing to sleep separately, because I know it’s a reality for many couples to get a good night’s rest. I’m simply pointing out that it’s one part of my aging process, I don’t particularly care for and I’m hoping to reverse the course.
Fortunately, we don’t snore every night…yet.
My grandmother must’ve noticed my surprise all those years ago, because she casually offered, “Honey, your grandad sounds like a freight train, and sometimes a girl just needs a good night’s sleep.”
I pray we have many more decades together, but unlike my grandparents, I don’t want sleeping in separate bedrooms to become more frequent, or even the norm.
So, I’ve decided to make that appointment I’ve been avoiding; the one with the sleep clinic…
I promise I’ll call…first thing in the morning, just as soon as I get a good night’s sleep.
Lisa considers herself a “writer-in-progress” and hopes I Do Part Two will be the conduit through which others feel compelled to share their story. She’s recently recommitted to her husband and best friend for the 27th year; together they have 3 growing children who still live full or part-time in their nest. Lisa also contributes to Her View From Home. She’s motivated by the quote, “What will the world miss if you don’t tell your story?”-Donald Miller
4 Minute Read
It wasn’t like he spoke French, or we had grown up on different continents, or had families who forbade us to date each other…but it was close.
I was born and raised in a small town in Vermont at the base of the Green Mountains. So, it was kind of a big deal to be moving south to play soccer at a small, private college in North Carolina.
Just prior to departing on my new adventure, I was out shopping with my mom for all the essentials I’d need for school. Stopped at a red light, my mom turned to me and said, “Whatever you do, please don’t fall in love with a southern boy.” Well, like any teenager, I went right ahead and did just that.
Jeff was a baseball player from Southern Florida, and at the time, it seemed like sports was about the only thing we had in common. It was not “love at first sight”…at least not for me.
I mean, who would ever shave their own head, wear baggie Tommy Hilfiger jeans with stripes down the sides, a white tank top and sport a chain necklace with a cross?
And boy was he loud! His energy was electric! Jeff was that guy, yelling at the poor referee “to bend over and look out his good eye!” There were times I wanted to slink away, and crawl all the way back to Vermont.
I was not perfect by any means, but I was chill.
I was a Vermont-girl, who thought she was looking for a typical Vermont guy. You know, the rugged outdoorsy kind of guy who wears hiking boots, Carhart pants, flannel shirts, and enjoys quiet conversation over a good IPA.
Not the Miller High Life guy, who drank “The Champagne of Beers” as Jeff would call it. By the way, do they even make that beer anymore? He’d grab a bottle of “champagne” as he sat down to watch his beloved NASCAR.
Jeff was so foreign to me; he might as well have been from another country. He’d say things like “fixin’.” Why would anyone say they are fixin’ to make a sandwich? Is it broken?
Or when he’d yell, “G.D!” Which, I assumed for months was a reference to the Grateful Dead, not the abbreviation for an offensive expression.
The guy ate biscuits and gravy! He loved sauerkraut! He washed his shiny, silver sports car every Sunday afternoon while I tooled around in my beat-up truck which was nicknamed Swiss Cheese because of all the rusted-out holes caused by the cruel Vermont winters.
He liked fast-food, I liked fresh.
He cheered for Tampa, I bled red for Boston.
He loved Jesus…Who?
He was very conservative, and I was quite liberal.
He was so…Southern, and I was so…Not.
So, you know how magnets work…when like poles of two magnets are placed near each other, they repel. But, when the north pole of one magnet is placed near the south pole of another: Boom! We were magnetic!
As different as Jeff and I were, we were drawn to each other by a force that was quite literally out of our control.
In the beginning, all of our differences were part of what kept our romance exciting. We were the epitome of the saying, “Opposites Attract.” But, like anything in this world, when there are strong, opposing forces involved, life can get complicated- fast.
We knew we had to figure out a better way to communicate after we realized our love and excitement for each other could only be stretched so far.
Thankfully, around this time someone recommended the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman; it was a game-changer!
Mr. Chapman explains how every person has a different way of feeling truly loved and there are five primary ways we feel loved by our partners; rarely do a husband and wife have the same love language. So, the challenge is discovering the primary language of your spouse.
The Five Love Languages are:
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
For some, it’s a mixture of two or three of them but most people have one primary love language which really makes them feel treasured by their partner.
For me, I always appreciate it when Jeff washes my car (Acts of Service), or surprises me with a small gift, but these acts rarely “fill my love tank” as the author describes.
As we discovered through the book, I feel most loved when my husband takes time to sit and talk with me, with no distractions, or when we go for a walk together. (Quality time)
Conversely, Jeff certainly appreciates it when I make him a tuna sandwich or I stop and pick up something at the store I know he needs. However, he feels most loved when I tell him how grateful I am for all he does for our family; what an incredible dad he is to our three kids or how wonderfully he provides for all of us. (Words of Affirmation)
Over the last 15 years, our marriage has been a continuous journey of learning to love and appreciate each other’s differences, all while trying to make our marriage thrive.
Understand each other’s emotional love language does not mean our marriage is challenge-free, or we have it all figured out, (especially since we’ve added three strong-willed, high spirited kids to the mix) but it does give us a road map to go by when we get caught up in the craziness of our life.
It is that simple? Of course not.
We still have our days. Like when Jeff’s been gone and I’ve been driving the kids in all different directions, dinner’s not ready, the dog hasn’t been walked, everyone has practice or a game, and there are no clean uniforms.
Then there are those times when the dishes are still sitting in the sink from breakfast, the laundry is overflowing, homework hasn’t been touched, field trip forms are missing, the floors are sticky with patches of who-knows-what, and I’m trying hard not to trip over the last thread I am hanging on by.
On those days, when I am trying to regain my footing, Jeff knows he can gently take my hand and go for a quiet walk together to hear my heart. And through this simple act, the pace of my heart rate lowers, my tank refills and I’m reassured of his love for me.
This didn’t happen by accident or overnight. It has taken us both time and a deep desire to invest in each other and our marriage. Sometimes we don’t do as good of a job of filling each other’s love tanks.
But, we have discovered over the years that keeping this simple idea in mind has helped immensely in keeping this Vermont-girl and Southern-boy…walking hand-in-hand.
Now, if ya’ll excuse me…I’m fixin’ to make Jeff a sandwich and then I am going to thank Jesus for all He has done for me.
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Megan lives in the Sunshine State with her husband Jeff and three young, active kiddos. She is passionate about her family, friends, fitness, food, and faith. With her English degree, she enjoys writing about her experiences and how important “enjoying the journey is and not the destination.” She hopes to relate and bring normalcy to others through the wonderful chaos of life!