Monday: Relationships: Mornings

There are few things that disrupt the peace more in our household than a sleepless night. As I write this, Jamie and I have just spent the last evening lying awake staring at the ceiling. I anticipate falling asleep at my keyboard today, and will consider myself lucky if I make it all the way through this post with no grievous typing errors.

On less aggravating sleepless nights, normally we’d get up and make breakfast together. It’s a hobby I recommend immensely–nothing starts the day off better than sharing breakfast, even if it is in a hurry.

One of the evolutions of our relationship has come from my gradual realization that Jamie usually needs more sleep than I. This can be a serious point of contention when we need to be somewhere and she isn’t waking up. Having the baby has certainly improved things, but she can still often sleep 12 hour stretches if Aubri will let her get away with it. Since we’ve gotten back from Japan, her sleep schedule has been a little crazy.

Fact: Jamie and I usually only fight when we’re both tired/hungry. So, it’s in our best interests to make sure neither of us gets hungry enough to get crabby, or goes beyond the point of needing sleep. We typically go to bed early (by 9pm), and that helps.

It is interesting to me, when I am talking to people about their relationships, that they usually know their significant other’s triggers. IE: “He always gets cranky when he hasn’t eaten,” or “She’s crazy if she doesn’t get her coffee in the mornings.” In the interest of maintaining peace, an outsider might expect that each partner would seek to fulfill that need. Human nature kicks in, however, and we tend to rebel against being an “enabler” of the bad habits that keep our partners happy.

At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. We’re not “enabling” their bad habits–or indulging them to remain peaceful. As an example, I feel the need to rouse Jamie from bed when I get up in the mornings on the weekend. She hates this. She would much prefer to wake up naturally. I desire her company, but forget that her company is more pleasant when I did not first wake her up by pulling the covers off the bed…

There was a point to this morning’s sleepy ramblings. There is a fine balance between helping your partner to improve, and forcing them to conform to your habit structure. In the interest of individuality, allowing some “bad” habits to foster to continue a happy coexistence is probably worth avoiding the tragic misunderstanding and petty fighting that often undermine a relationship.
But I still don’t want her to leave her lunch on my computer desk.

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