One of my favorite things about being married is bedtime. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything better than snuggling up in my man’s arms and falling asleep. And, well, sometimes, not falling asleep for a little while. Wink, wink! Bedtime habits are some of the best habits to cultivate in any marriage whenever possible.
Bedtime Habits: Set a bedtime
Life can get pretty hectic. Am I right? Some seasons are more hectic than others. One way to combat a hectic life messing with your marriage is to work to set a common bedtime–or at least aim to go to bed at the same time.
At the beginning of our marriage, The Hunk was in graduate school, full-time ministry, and interning as a counselor. Sometimes, he had to stay up late to write papers–even pulling all-nighters. Some nights, we couldn’t go to bed at the same time. When it couldn’t happen, we still touched base before I went to sleep.
In general, having a shared ritual in a marriage improve a marriage relationship. Going to bed at the same time can be a simple way to incorporate a shared ritual which creates a sense of unity in a marriage. According to Dr. John Gottman, marriage research expert, shared rituals increase marriage satisfaction overall.
Bedtime Habits: Three Compliments
If we do a quick search engine search, we’ll see a myriad of answers to the question, “How many compliments does it take to undo an insult?” In my quick search, I saw anything from 60 to a million. I’m no expert, but I’m not sure insults can ever be undone. I like to compare this to trying to put all the toothpaste back into the tube. It’s difficult if not impossible!
So, whether your day was spent together all day or you were apart all day working, volunteering, having social engagements, and general busyness, aim to go to bed at the same time. And as part of your bedtime ritual, give each other three compliments. If it has to be forced at first, that’s fine. After practice, it should become second nature.
Focus on complimenting one another’s accomplishments, appearance, and intellect. Maybe he rocked at hanging up that canvas for you. Tell him. Maybe she came up with an epic solution to the kitchen organization debacle of 2013. Tell her that you admire her skill.
Seal these compliments with a kiss. Or even more fun stuff.
Bedtime Habits: Debrief
If your life isn’t already crazy together, it will be. Before going to bed, go through a quick debrief. This debrief is clothing optional.
Take turns sharing a high and a low of the day, being sure to end with a high. “So, dear, what was your favorite part of today?” “My favorite part was when you came home so glad to see me! What was yours?” Complete the interchange. Then, discuss a low: “What was the low point of your day?” “I was really sad to learn that my friend’s husband died in an unexpected car accident. She’s my age with two kids!” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…” And this gives a good opportunity to bond and share with one another, offering comfort or a listening ear. Then, complete the cycle and finish up with another high. “Okay, what was another part of the day you enjoyed?” “I enjoyed my dinner with Tami. She is a great friend and mentor.”
What’s great about the nightly debrief, according to Drs. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs, is that it gives a chance for the two of you to learn more about one another–the things our beloved likes to do or experience and what makes life difficult or a challenge.
Bedtime is the best time. Make it count with your spouse!