If your partner’s in bed, you should be, too.
Okay, I’ll admit it. This is an adage that has taken years for me to begrudgingly accept. My spice is a morning person and I’m the proverbial night owl. For years my spice has practically begged me to come to bed when he does. But, I argue, once the kidlens are all tucked in for the night, it’s my best time to “get things done.” Can I get an Amen from the moms out there? I felt that his demand — and, yes, it felt like a demand — was unreasonable. Why should I force myself to sleep just because he does? I even resented his request — because that is what it really was, a request — because I felt like he was being childish. What? You can’t go to bed on your own, you big baby? Ugh! That line of thinking just made matters worse because it caused resentment on both our parts. He felt slighted because he felt as if finishing up my Netflix binge was more important to me than spending time with him. And I felt resentful because I felt as though he was infringing on “my time.”
Research has shown time and time again that most relationships end because of loss of intimacy and connection. Going to bed together can actually bring a sense of connection to both partners. Throw a little cuddling into the bedtime routine and both can actually reduce their stress levels. Researcher Jeffrey Larson found that “couples whose wake and sleep patterns were mismatched (e.g., an evening person married to a morning person) reported significantly less marital adjustment, more marital conflict, less time spent in serious conversation, less time spent in shared activities and less frequent sexual intercourse than matched couples.” In other words, healthy relationships need shared bed time.
Of course, today’s hectic schedules mixed with today’s late night techno hobbies make for a challenging bedtime routine. If you and your partner find it difficult to hit the hay together every night, it’s a good idea to try doing it a few nights every week. Since my spice is an early to bed kinda guy, I set an alarm on my phone at least three nights a week to check in with him about his bed time … and make a point to join him. And I’m here to tell you, it’s done wonders for our intimacy.
Instead of thinking of my late nights as “my time” that my husband was intruding on, I changed my perspective. Our shared bedtime becomes our shared “we” time. It’s been shown that when we take time to cuddle up with our lovers and have a quick chat before lights out, we tend to be more affectionate towards one another when the lights are on. In the privacy of our own bed, we tend to talk more about the little things that happened throughout our day, share our thoughts about the kids, share small accomplishments about our work. I’ve been frankly surprised to find out that it’s during these little chats that I often feel closest to him. I learn so much more about his otherwise hidden intimate thoughts and feelings during a quick cuddle sesh than I would glean without them. I believe it’s because we feel safer, more connected, when we’re quietly holding each other. Being naked (or practically naked) helps, too, because we feel more vulnerable, yet safer, together.
I encourage you and your spice to try to schedule a few nights of shared bedtime. I’d love to know how it works out for y’all, too!
“If Your Partner’s in Bed, You Should Be, Too,” Erin Leyba for Psychology Today
MORNING AND NIGHT COUPLES: THE EFFECT OF WAKE AND SLEEP PATTERNS ON MARITAL ADJUSTMENT