My husband and I were watching the television show 'Til Death the other night, which stars Brad Garrett (who formerly played Robert Barrone in Everybody Loves Raymond) and Joely Fisher as a 20+ years wed couple with a kid in college who have two bouncy, chirpy newlyweds move into the house next door. The two forty-somethings often find themselves bemused by the effervescent luuuuurve that their twenty-something neighbors are in and spend a lot of time instructing them in the Ways of Marriage.
Think: In the first bright year of marriage, it's kind of cute when your husband farts in his sleep. You think, "Oh, look how comfortable and relaxed he looks in his sleep. I'm so glad that that bad air bubble isn't bothering him anymore. Note to self: never serve broccoli and baked beans at the same meal, because it might give hims a stomach-ache."
After that year, not so much.
The subject of the program the other night was bedtime and what it means if a couple both turns in at the same time every night. The strong suggestion was that it is goofy and silly for two grownups, who may not be tired at the same time, to go to bed together. The 20-something character was made fun of in the staff lounge of the school where he and the older man both work because he and his wife went to bed at 10:30 every night.
"You have a bedtime," jeered one teacher. "You be a good boy and eat your cookie and drink your milk and then you scoot right in there and hit the hay, little mister."
My husband and I traded a couple of amused glances while this was going on. We've been married for nearly twenty years and we've always gone to bed at the same time. I thought that was just one of the things you DID when you were married: Someone yawns and says, "I'm feeling tired. Are you ready to go upstairs?"
The other person responds, "I just need to answer this one last email. Give me ten minutes."
At the end of ten minutes, we get up (him from his chair, me from the desk) and putter around, putting the dogs to bed, starting the dishwasher and then we go upstairs. Together. We both read in bed for half an hour or so and my husband turns off his light. Then I read for a while longer and either turn out my light or get up and sneak back downstairs.
But we do go to bed at the same time. Every night. I think it would be really strange to say, "Well, listen, I am just whupped from this day, so I'm going to head on up. See you in the morning."
So now I'm wondering: How many couples go to bed at the same time, and how many couples go whenever they feel like going?
If it were up to my husband, we would be going to bed at 9:00 every night. If it were up to me, we'd head upstairs at 12:30. We compromise. Which is definitely one of the Ways of Marriage.
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