Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When the Sun Marries the Moon

I don't know if I'm an INJT.  (Is that even a thing?  I just threw some letters together.  You know what I mean though.) (Myers-Briggs.)  I don't even know if I'm an introvert or extravert.  I've taken all the tests.  I've tried.  But I'm always solidly between the two (or the hundred in the case of MB). Usually because I never even understand the questions, so on a scale of 1-10, I go with the safe bet and every answer is a 5 or 6 because I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ASKING.

But I know one thing for absolute certain: I'm a night owl.

And my husband's the epitome of annoying, perky sunrise worshiper.  (Early bird.)

I didn't really realize this until we were married.  The signs were there, but I didn't realize how drastically each one of us leaned toward our respective opposites.  

I'm quite happy staying up and chatting or reading or watching movies or playing games until 2 in the morning.  Every night.  David would be happy to be asleep by 9.  Every night.  

Although I think sunrises are beautiful, I think it's the rarity of seeing them that make that beauty.  David rarely wakes in the sunlight (and likes it that way).

And I didn't realize how much a seemingly little difference like that affects a marriage.  It turns out that my best hours are my husband's worst.  And vice versa.  Don't underestimate the difference between interacting in your best hours and your worst.  The difference is incredible.  Let's explore some situations in my household.

A weeknight.  David comes home from work.  I attempt to pack in family time when he gets home (before his worst hours) and sometimes we go on a walk or play with Lucia, but more often we have things that just have to be done around the house and that time when both of us are in decent moods is wasted on laundry or some such thing.  Then comes dinner, which more often than not is too late because I don't mind eating at nine at night (when the night is still young) and then by the time dinner is over and dishes are done, David's half asleep.  He usually puts Lucia to sleep and as he walks back downstairs, I'm thinking, "Yes, this is IT!  Alone time!"  And I say, "Let's watch a movie!  Or play a game!  Or just talk!  How was your day?  What did you do?"  And David says, "I'm really tired. I'm going to bed." Or, "Let's just watch some TV for awhile." 

Now, let's deconstruct those two choices:

TV.  Within about 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, he's asleep with his mouth open.  He pretends he's not.  So, you know, after about 5 more minutes of glancing at the fly-catcher, I tell him to go up to bed.  Which inevitably leads to option 2.

Go to bed.  He's asleep within ten seconds of his head hitting the pillow.  I know some couples make a priority to go to bed at the same time, but we usually don't.  It just doesn't make sense for us.  I want to chat and deconstruct our day and talk about plans or our family or deep theological concepts or whatever and he's asleep.  I can read or do Sudoku, but more often than not, it's more fruitful for me to just do whatever else I want to do and join him in bed when I'm finally tired (about 3 hours into his slumber).

And another situation (this one is shorter, I promise):
A weekend morning.  He wakes up, ready to take on the day.  I'm still sleeping.  He knows NOT to wake me. The end. 

Ok, so that was my really long way of asking for HELP!  Does your significant other have an opposite schedule? How are you able to fit quality time in?  How to you stay off each other's nerves?  Are there any good resources out there to help us conquer these differences? 


  1. We make it a priority to go to bed together because we both get grumpy without cuddle time, but I won't suggest that if you guys know it doesn't work for you because different things work for different people! I am totally the early bird and Steven is the night owl. I'd say we have both compromised a little, and so far it works really well. I have come to accept that he will never bring me breakfast in bed (because he will NEVER wake up before me lol) and he accepts that we just can't watch movies together past about 8pm.

    It's trickier for us since Steven's work schedule varies so much, but we basically try to go to bed at the same time/time frame (between 10 and 11) every night. After doing that for a while, both our bodies are just used to the bed time/wake up time, so I'm used to being up a little later at night and he's used to being up a little earlier in the morning. If one of us is really just not sleepy, we bring something to bed so that we can still be together and whoever is awake just cuddles the other to sleep. So he might bring a book/comic book or something until he's tired. I guess that only works if the early bird can sleep with a little light.

    This is getting way longer than I intended, but we have both found that also having dinner at the same time every night (when we can, again with his work schedule) and then getting stuff done right after works best because I'm not tired/grouchy yet. Usually it's dinner at 6, then we're productive from 6:30/7 until maybe 8. Then we are guaranteed a little down time whether we use that together playing a game, watching a movie or separately in the same room on our computers or reading.

    Now that I've said all this, I'm sure it will drastically, drastically change in a few weeks :).

    1. Going to sleep at the same time doesn't work because Lucia sleeps with us. My early bird doesn't mind the light at all, but my daughter does! And actually, putting her to bed has taken about 2 hours each night recently, so that sucks up any time we can spend together because David is truly exhausted by the time she finally falls asleep. (We've tired all going to bed at the same time, but it still takes her two hours to fall asleep and that's not fun when you wait to get to bed until you are tired).

  2. My husband and I are like that. You have to compromise. Dinner is at 6 ish and kids in bed at 8. Then we have time together. I get up early during the week because of the boys but on Saturday I get to sleep in. You'll figure it out but you gotta get up early sometimes and he's gonna need to readjust to. Even a half hour is long enough for alone time.

  3. You mean INTJ. (By comparison, I'm an INFJ. You tend to think. I tend to feel.)

    I have no advice so I'll sit here and follow.

    1. No, actually Jen, I didn't mean anything specific, I just picked letters that sounded like what I've heard for MB before. I've never actually done a test that has told me what I was (they all put me pretty much in the middle of all the options).

  4. We've got that problem a little bit. My husband wakes up early (5 or 6) and I would be happy to sleep in till 9 (and so would Noah). Since he HAS to wake up that early for work I've had to make the changes. I try to wake up earlier so that I'm tired closer to the time my husband is. I also try to have dinner ready once he gets home and maybe even start dishes before we serve dinner. Sometimes I'll just leave them until morning because I would rather spend time with him than cleaning the kitchen while he is home.

    I don't really have advice though...this is just what we've been working on lately. :-) Hope you guys can figure something out, it's frustrating to say the least!

  5. Your first few lines had me laughing because I was literally just having a conversation with myself (and, of course, writing a post in my head) about how I have NO idea anymore if I'm an extrovert or introvert. I can be anything on any given day!

    As to the question, we're not as opposite as you but I crave my morning time alone. I "need" or rather, prefer, a good few hours to wake up and enter the world, pray, have it quiet, and prepare for the day. My husband sleeps in a good hour at least after and will take the little one and keep him upstairs for me so I get my time. Even with that, I still bristle when my husband wants to ask me questions or is all chipper when he gets up and comes downstairs. We usually go to sleep around the same time, though. He's one of those people that can sleep any time so he kind of conforms himself to my preferences, which is really awesome of him. I should probably be more grateful for that :) Hope you find something that works for you!

  6. I am usually the night owl in our marriage whilst my husband is the morning sunshine or as you so perfectly put it: "annoying, perky sunrise worshiper." Kids and pregnancy has actually killed much of my energy, so that makes quality time even harder because I still don't get up super early, but I'm also crashing earlier at night. We try to watch a TV show together, so we have an episode a week that's less than an hour to just cuddle up. We have the same thing with having a toddler in our bed, so if we stay in bed to do anything, we always have a 2 year old in between us.
    Something we've tried to do in the past (sometimes successfully) was to plan in a game night one night or just talking one night. We also try to pray the rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet together at night. I am by no means an expert, but I honestly think this stage of having such young children is just really hard for getting "alone" time. I wish you the best!

  7. I know exaclty wht you mean. I am the early to bed, early to rise person and my husband is totally a night owl. He gets really frustrated with me when we watch movies or shows together because I almost always, always, always fall asleep.

    We do dinner at 6ish. The toddler goes to bed at 7-7:30. The big kids stay up to 9, but they are easy. I'm usually in bed 10-10:30, so usually 9-10-10_30 is our alone time or couple rtime. We din't always spend all of it together though, sometimes we each do our own thing and sometimes we spend it together.

    We don't go to bed together and never have... not in 13 years of marriage. We'fe just managed to work out what works for us and try to accept the other person as they are. I don't try to change him and he doesn't try to change me. We just accept each other the way we are and work iwth it.

  8. We are actually weird. We've been married for 9 years, so I don't know if we've adapted or always been this way, but. dear husband has this amazing ability to not only stay up fairly late, but get up pretty early while still being able to function. Whereas I could almost go to bed early and sleep in later. Basically, I have always required more sleep, but we are managing. I just stay up a little later, and he tries to let me sleep in when he can. I think we may have both been night owls, but I no longer remember. Of course, kids kinda changed all that anyway. Good luck! It just takes time to figure out!

  9. My husband is a night owl and he wakes up early. He functions best on about 5 hours of sleep. I like to go to bed early and wake up late. For us we put our boys to bed at 8pm which gives us some time together before it's too late for me to function. But sometimes we both compromise. Either he comes to bed and we cuddle and chat and he plays on his phone/tablet after I'm asleep or I stay up later to play games. Some nights we have to go our separate ways because he's working anyway, but it's best if we make time earlier in the evening. As a person who basically stops functioning after 9pm usually I can say that it is a hard thing to change. My brain just doesn't focus...I imagine it is as hard for my husband to force sleep at 9pm. ;-)

  10. My husabnd and I's schedule is definitely crazy. During the week we generally go to bed together just because we have to be up and moving at the same time. However, as a teacher, I do lots of my homework around ten because it is when I finally get around to it after coming home and being a wife. On the weekends we go to bed together, but he wakes up earlier. He gets up and enjoys his time alone, generally going outside in his workshop or our backyard while I sleep. (I am very "strict" that due to me having to get up early for work during the week, my Saturday mornings are for resting.) He enjoys his time. During the summers my schedule goes wacky. We have to make our schedule work. I generally tuck him in and we do our bedtime routine (devotional, prayers, etc.) with him and then have "me time". There is no right or wrong. Each marriage is different and once each couple reaches that understanding, with an agreement to make changes if needed, it "just works."

  11. I don't know what your hubby does for a living, but is it possible to talk on the phone (or in person) over his lunch hour? And kind of get a feel for how his day is going, and tell him about yours thus far too? Sometimes I get the biggest kick out of talking to my guy during the kids' naps in the afternoon; it's fun to tell him that I love him and then hear him whisper it back to me so that he's not embarrassed in front of his very manly coworkers. :)


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