Friday, February 6, 2009

Living in Different Time Zones

I was just looking at the “Do you operate in different marital time zones?” quiz on foryourmarriage.org, and it got me thinking, although not exactly about the content of the quiz itself. My thoughts took a different direction.

Here we go: I get grumpy when Daniel falls asleep when we are “supposed to be” spending time together; this grumpiness ranges from annoyance to full-out anger, depending on the mood I was already in. I don’t know why—I guess it’s because when he falls asleep I feel like he is leaving me alone or something.

In any event, in our current situation Daniel is living with his parents about forty-five minutes away from our house and spends the weekends with me. While he is here, he sleeps over at my parents’ house a few minutes down the road, and we usually stay up late spending time together before he drives over there. The problem is that Daniel is a morning person and I am a night person—and I’m not sure whether this issue will be eased or exacerbated once we are married and living together.

Here is a typical scenario: It is a Friday or Saturday night and Daniel and I are reading, watching a movie, or working on a project together, etc. Somewhere between nine and eleven o’clock, Daniel will start to get tired and often fall asleep if he is sitting on the couch. If he doesn’t fall asleep, he will get continually more tired and grumpy as the minutes pass by.

Then, there are usually various things that have to be done at the end of the day, whether it’s loading the dishwasher, straightening the living room, or locking up the shed. I may get up and start doing some of these things with Daniel already asleep on the couch, but if he is still awake he may do them while I go and get ready for bed, to save time. By the time I’m finished and ready to pray together, which we always do before he leaves, I have to wake him up. This is usually not an easy task, and it puts both of us in a bad mood if we are not careful.

The next morning, if it is a Saturday, Daniel usually wakes up at my parents’ house and drives back over to our house before I am awake. He is sometimes frustrated by how long it takes me to get out of bed once he gets there, but he is almost always nice about it, sometimes even making coffee and breakfast for when I finally manage to get my feet on the floor (a terrible battle I am forced to fight every single morning).

Does anyone have a similar situation and have suggestions for how Daniel and I can start to live in the same “time zone” once we get married? Or is this just an inevitable struggle that we’ll have to live with? Oh well, I guess there are certainly worse problems we could have.

In other news: as I am writing this, on Thursday, there are exactly 100 days left until the wedding!! I also booked a deejay this morning—it felt great crossing that one off my list! Have a good weekend, everyone.

13 comments:

Joey said...

I do think it will get better when you're married because you'll already be spending a lot of time together so it won't matter as much to you if he wants to go to bed early (or to him if you want to sleep in later)... Try saying your prayers together like after dinner instead of needing to wait until just before bed... That's all I've got. :)

Mary said...

You can't imagine how comforting this entry was to read!! Mark (my fiance -- we're getting married just a few weeks before you guys) and I have the same problems -- he always falls asleep at night, and it's a struggle on so many levels for me. I especially hate it when he falls asleep during our daily prayer time as well. It's been a compromise -- I've been praying about it (especially for the grace to better my temper!) and am hoping that when we're living together and our routines are better in sync these kinds of issues won't matter as much...Thank you for the entries -- they have been so comforting at so many times!

Lynne said...

I can't say for sure it will get better, but you find ways to adjust. My husband and I have been married a year and a half and we have the same problem. So when he falls asleep early, I get him up, put him to bed and then use that time for my personal prayer. He then uses the morning for his personal prayer. Until we figured that out, we had trouble finding time for our individual spiritual lives.

alison said...

ha! oh my gosh i think like 80% of our pre-marital "fights" were EXACTLY about this subject. Mike falls asleep SO easily which only seemed to make me more awake and it would make me super frustrated when we were supposed to be "spending time together" or that he needed to leave and go home. The whole "leave and go home thing" will definitely disappear and make this easier to deal with once you're married. this will seem like such a silly thing too since once you're married there will be no limit to how much time you can spend together :) hopefully you'll think its cute and say "ah, remember when i used to get mad at that?" again, at least for us, i think a lot of the frustration was due to the tough restrictions on time allocation since you can't sleep in the same place. so although those characteristics will ever go away, but they will become less of an obstacle you have to get around and more of just a funny quirk. now is definitely a good time to learn patience!!! best of luck to you...keep the updates coming!

alison said...

oh yeah fyi, i'm like 4 months into this whole marriage thing :)

Good Thunder said...

I think one of the best things to remember also is mercy. Try to see it from the other person's point of view- instead of declaring "I am night person- therefore stay up with me" or "I am a morning person, therefore you must wake up" maybe evaluate what about the situation makes you unhappy. Is it good, holy an acceptable for you both to sleep when you do? Perhaps you'll both need to change a little to make yourselves more acceptable to the Lord and in the process making yourselves nicer for each other. It's important to remember as well that when you get married you will still need to live a normal life- maybe you'll both have to swallow giving up an hour here or there- I also really like the idea of using that "alone" time for your own personal prayer time. See what the Lord is trying to tell you through this cross. Bless you!

Scyldmaiden said...

So far I'm lucky on this one. when I visit my fiance, we tend to keep the same times.
I think I drive him nuts though, he is two hours behind me in timezones. I'm always falling asleep on the phone. He never complains. I'm interested in seeing how this changes once we're married.

LJK said...

Sorry, it will never get better. After 24 years of marriage my feelings still range from hurt to angry when my husband falls asleep on me. You work all day to see each other then...snore. My guess is the day I stop being irritated by his falling asleep is the day to start worrying about the relationship. FYI...he never is angry with me if I fall asleep on him...he calls it "beauty sleep" because if I don't get my nap things can get really ugly.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I cannot believe I am not the only person having this problem--the difference is we ARE married (3 years) and therefore living together. The problem will probably not completely resolve, but it may not be an every night occurance after marriage. It is a continuing battle for us because my temper tends to flare as well, then he gets upset because he doesn't understand why it is a big deal. Hey, just let us know if you ever find a solution! Hope I didn't discourage you, there are worse things to deal with!

Jen in CT said...

First of all, I should tell you, I am married (for 11 years already), but I do remember the struggles you mentioned, except for us it was flip flopped - I was the early bird and my husband was, and still is, the night-owl. I have only a few comments, but they might help. Remember, your life together as one begins on the day you get married. Try not to live that life yet. It is not just about separating for sleep. I know it is hard b/c you do want to spend every moment with each other, but know planned time together, instead of every waking (or not so waking) moment will be more enjoyable and fruitful. In fact, you will see your marriage will offer you and your spouse the constant challenge of managing your time together. But know from newlyweds, to new parents, to seasoned parents, to 5, 10, 25 and more anniversaries, you with both see the beauty of the balance of time together and time apart, serving God, each other, your family and beyond. It is that way for us now - four children and 11 years later, we now need to plan our time together and express our expectations of each other. The nights when I stay up late are nights when we do something together. But our natural sleep differences provide an easy and welcomed time for quiet moments, spent alone in prayer or just relaxing in the peace of being alone. Blessings to you both.

Anonymous said...

This thing will never go away. You'll need to accept him as he is and he'll need to accept you as you are on this or else the relationship will be hurt for nothing. Just as you stated, he's a morning person and you're a night person. He cannot change you on this, and neither can you change him on this. It's not like he's having a drinking problem or something like that. He wakes up early, so he falls asleep early. That's how his biological clock works. It's not like he's falling asleep because he's bored with you or anything like that. You get angry because you think of yourself more than of him. And you try to make him accommodate you. That's not fair. I've been married for years. And I found out it's not the big things that can break a marriage. On the contrary, it's the small things, and the everyday things that can break it. And it will only get worse after having kids. These small things will add to the stress of having kids. Don't get me wrong. It's such an indescribably wonderful experience having kids. However, it does come with a lot of stress. Everything comes with a price. You'll need to accept the difference between your sleeping habits and take it with a grain of salt or else it won't last. Sorry, the truth hurts. However, it's better that you know now and be prepared.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Of course, he should not be frustated with you or try to change you on this, either. You both need to accept each other regarding this difference in sleeping habits and take the advice from Jen in CT: "But our natural sleep differences provide an easy and welcomed time for quiet moments, spent alone in prayer or just relaxing in the peace of being alone. "

Anonymous said...

I just stummbled across your blog, and this entry made me giggle a little bit. I've been married now for a year and a hlaf, but used to have the dame arguments. We realized that we both just needed to give a little extra to each other instead of critisizing. Once we were married it stayed the same way, but then we had a baby 11months after the wedding. We have now learned to sleep when the baby sleeps... in other words, our arguments over sleeping have ended. Now we just argue over who's going to get the baby when he's crying when we're trying to rest! Don't worry, the Lord will help you through all your arguments. Try to pray to Mary for patience as well... I've been doing that for quite a while. I still get mad at times, but I'm definitely more laid back since She has been helping me! God Bless!!