At the start of our marriage, my husband and I resolved that every night we would get in bed at the same time and fall asleep together. We recognized that unwinding together made us feel more connected. Processing our days out loud allowed us to include one another in our individual worlds and kept us clued into all the little daily joys and struggles we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
But then we had a baby.
Even with the best of intentions, transitioning from husband and wife to dad and mom meant reprioritizing the little luxuries we once took for granted. I started going to bed early to catch a few winks before the night feeding began (my husband always offered to wake up with us, but I didn’t like waking him up multiple times a night just to keep me company when he had to be at work in a few hours). Even after the baby was totally weaned and sleeping through the night in his own room, we had just gotten into different habits. My husband tended to procrastinate going to bed in favor of watching TV or reading on his phone until he fell asleep on the couch for an hour or two, while I found that the structure of my nightly routine on my best days felt like a luxurious act of self-care and on my worst days felt like the one thread from which my sanity hung. We fell into a new pattern.
Suddenly, four years passed.
Our relationship was still solid, but we missed each other. We noticed we felt “disconnected” from one another more often than we used to. Then one night a few months ago, as I was telling my husband goodnight before beginning my nightly 1.5-hour wash face-shower-shave-floss-brush-moisturize-skincare-blowdry-journal-meditate-zzzzzzz routine, I added tentatively, “Do you want to join me?” To my surprise and delight, he enthusiastically agreed. Even though our shower is tiny and I take up way too much bathroom counter space with all my nightly accouterments, it was a blast unwinding together without the usual TV, dinner, sleepiness, phones, chores, work, toddler, etc. to distract us from our one-on-one time.
We had so much fun just spending that time together.
We decided to make it our new nightly routine. Occasionally my husband works a night shift or we mutually decide that we need our own shower space that night, but we’ve gone back to prioritizing getting into bed together every night that we can and it has made a world of difference. Setting aside time every night to reconnect, hear about each other’s day, and just generally goof off together has made us feel like we’re dating again. Not to mention, there’s much more time for physical intimacy. We no longer have to rely on waking up early (or running late) and stolen afternoon moments to connect physically. Don’t get me wrong, those times are great (I could write a whole separate post in honor of “afternoon delight”), but now we’ve carved out an entire nightly opportunity to really take our time with each other.
I recommend giving it a try! Even if you’re like me and can’t imagine parting with your precious nightly self-care time and you’re pretty sure there’s no way your spouse can endure it, there is a very good chance they will jump at the opportunity to spend more time with you.