In company with dinosaurs and dodos, we have to list the wait-till-you’re-married man as extinct, do we not? I honestly believed so, at least as it applies to this country and culture… but I’m here to report that the subspecies is not defunct. I met Jon last year. And I married him this February. And then we started our life of sleepovers. No, this post is not about Intimacy—or at least, not the type you’re thinking. (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter!)
Today’s Random List touches on a different sort of intimacy… the familiarity and affection found in knowing someone else, down to their little habits and routines… Having previously followed a different order-of-operations in relationships (meaning I’d always lived with men before marriage), last February I felt both amused and awkward to find myself married to Jon and just figuring these things out…
- Which side of the bed is “mine”… Personally, I vote for “near the bathroom”… It was just odd, not being sure which side of the bed Mrs. Smith should climb into (especially since Ms. Tyler had been accustomed to sprawling across it ALL).
- How we each sleep… On one side, on the back, cuddled up?
- Bedtime routine… I knew one piece of this, because Jon and I had been sharing bedtime-prayers over the phone every evening. Actually kneeling by the bed for those prayers was new to me, but now we do it together every night. I used to fall asleep with Netflix running; now it’s a chapter or two of a book instead. I notice I’m not staying awake nearly so late. Which is a good thing because of…
- How we each wake up… When Jon wakes up—early!—he’s Awake. (He may have left the Army after Desert Storm, but the Army still hasn’t left him!) I take a little more “warming up” to the day. He used to get out of bed at 4:30 and read the Bible every morning; now he waits till 5:30 or 6, and we stay in bed and read together. (He brings me coffee first!) We’re working our way through the Bible, or sometimes another study for discussion, like the workbook for a couples’ Bible-study we went to. I won’t lie, the earlier wake-up took some adjusting for me (just as getting up later was an adjustment for him). But I’ve come to cherish that protected time before the Rest of the Day happens. We’re not just reading, we’re conversing—usually with some goofing and laughter thrown in. (Once my coffee kicks in, that is.)
- Who snores… He doesn’t. I do. (I insisted for a while that I don’t, “because it wouldn’t be lady-like”… Until he presented the proof in the form of a video on his phone. Turkey.)
- Who steals covers… He doesn’t. I do. He calls it “burrito-ing,” when I roll myself entirely in the blankets, pulling them off him in the process. I tell him we need a blanket-dispenser (picture a large-scale toilet paper roll) on his side of the bed, so he can keep unrolling covers even as I “burrito” them…
- Bathroom door… Truly, this was one of the weirdest things NOT to know. Do you close the door? Do you expect me to?
- Bathroom routines… Given that we live in an RV (small counter, small mirror, no his-and-hers sinks) we’ve gotten good at the bathroom-sharing dance… At this point we don’t think about his shaving, my hair-fixing, our tooth-brushing and shower routines… but this was definitely on the list of things-to-learn when we were new to waking up together.
- Shower temperature… Left to myself, I opt for “scalding.” Compromise is definitely called for.
- Teddy bear… My bear, Toots, has been with me for over 40 years, and I still like to sleep with him. However, he has spent lots of time on closet shelves when I was previously married; let’s just say he hasn’t always been welcomed to a shared bed. Jon appointed him the bad-dream-fighter, and he sewed an Army outfit for his “combat” role. He checks that I have Toots when we settle in to sleep, and he even compiled a photo-journal of Toots enjoying the sights on our road-trip this summer. That kind of adoption is a first for Toots, and for me! When I checked into a psych ward this fall, I couldn’t see Jon for the first few days, but he brought me Toots. And that made all the difference in my acceptance of the situation.
We just marked ten months married—the learning curve isn’t as steep now, but we are still learning each other, fine-tuning our reactions and interactions. People have made comments to the effect that they wouldn’t commit to jeans without trying them on, let alone a husband—and as evidenced by my prior choices, I have previously felt that way too.
But you know what? I knew the Important Stuff when I walked down that aisle to meet Jon. (Actually, I kind of ran. They didn’t get to play much of my entrance-music. Hey, I was eager!)
Ask me today, I’ll say that comparing a spouse to a pair of jeans cheapens Marriage. I’ll be honest: during our engagement I was acting out of respect for Jon, while he was acting on his convictions and respect for God… There was nothing “holy” in my own behavior, but the resulting relationship is holy nonetheless. Marriage is a sacrament. And now I’m glad, feeling we started things right. Or at least pretty well.
[A side note… I felt a little uncomfortable writing this, maybe because “waiting” IS so different from my previous choices that I feel defensive about it. Hmm. On the other hand, as my mother noted: I’ve been divorced, widowed, and annulled. I’ve changed my name too many times, and I’ve gotten OUT of a marriage every way possible. It’s time to get it right. And that’s got to mean doing something different! Comments are always welcome.]