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Monday, January 5, 2009

Say, 'Goodnight Honey', Even If it Kills You

"Good night, love...sleep tight".

"Will ya".

These sound like simple little words couples might share right before they go to bed each evening, right? Well, apparently, the correct answer is WRONG.

Just recently I wrote a New Year's Resolutions' post that included a section of 'Revelations' and one point stated that I was going to have to be a lot more interesting if I expect to get noticed by my husband. I must have hit a common nerve, as I received hundreds of emails the following day about the lack of verbal communication between spouses before bedtime and all throughout the day, as well. The responses did not just come from empty-nesters or from the female readers. It seems that complacency comes to many different folks in all kinds of relationships. Yet, I could hear in these email comments that most people are disturbed by their spouses inaction and lack of interest and communication. Don't get me wrong, most of these people are happily married or attached and have no desire to move on to greener pastures. We have all just fallen into a lazy, unattractive habit.

If you think about it, it's crazy the way this works:

1) Boy meets girl (or some variation of this);

2) The two do everything in their power to put their best foot forward and act decent and nice to each other;

3) The couple becomes attached (through a marriage or some other defined way that makes them an exclusive item to themselves and to the world);

4) They live in the "Newlywed Stage" where they treat each other well and respect each other;

5) Then, at some unmagical moment, it is considered okay to simply not speak to each other. You fall into bed and not a word is spoken or a touch of the hand to the other's body occurs. And this is acceptable. And then, it happens 7 nights in a row.........

There are two specific periods of time in one's life where you have "an excuse" for this unacceptable behavior. The first comes when you have infants in the house. And it doesn't matter whether you are a two-income family or you have one spouse "working" at home with the kids. It's an exhausting period of time either way you handle it. Couples cherish the quiet moments when they come knowing that it'll be short lived. "Falling into bed" isn't just a mindless cliche; it really happens. Still, I think this period is the most dangerous of times to fall into the pattern of simply not acknowledging your life partner at bedtime. You are creating a bad habit that will surely be hard to break after decades of time. A simple pat of your hand on theirs will probably do the trick. I am not talking about discussing what happened at work that day or how little Billy kicked Susie at recess, either. Just a simple way to say, you are the one person in the world that I have chosen to sleep with and spend my life with and I still think you are the best!

The second period of life is when we become empty nest parents. With the kids gone, you tend to spend more time together than you did when the kids still resided at home. Night after night, you eat dinner together...alone. Maybe you watch TV or read together at night...alone. Maybe one night a week, you have a charitable responsibility or you have a bowling league to attend, but even that turns into a bit of a boring routine. The time together seems unimportant and not valued as in the past. No real need to say good night, they will definitely be there in the morning, for goodness sakes!

Sad to say, this occurs in my household, too. Only, I secretly get pissed off and hold in my anger, which cannot be good.

The bottom line is saying good night to each other should be a common courtesy between two people who love and care for each other. And, I know if we touch each other it will most definitely lead to other activities that can be exhausting, (albeit fun), but saying a few simple words is so easy.

Those of you reading this post will need to be the ones to start this up in your household. Say something to your life partner, in bed, every single night. Say something, even if you think the other person has drifted into sleep or has been a pain the butt all day. Say it because you still love this person and they deserve to get your daily evening recognition. Your relationship will be better, I guarantee it!

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Blogger Heather said... when I say, "Goodnight honey, love you, are you too tired to "do it"?" that's good right?
I fell into that awful routine with my x...maybe that's why I make a bit of an effort now!

January 5, 2009 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

Wow Beth, what a great post. I'm definitely guilty of this lately, especially with sick kids. At the end of the day, I just want silence and I sometimes forget to kiss my husband goodnight. I'll try to be better, I swear. Oh, and we even have a sign above our bed that says "Always Kiss Me Goodnight".

January 5, 2009 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger June said...

You are so right. We all fall into terrible routines - lazy, whatever. I too have just fallen into it because my husband is that way. Tonight is going to change. It is a shame - if we could only remember the first month we met - what an exciting time. I'm going to remember it tonight. Thanks

January 5, 2009 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Thanks for the reminder! I promise to start - tonight.

January 6, 2009 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Lisa Eshelman said...

I like your observation. I drive my husband nuts because I end every phone conversation with, "I love You". But I believe in being in the habit of saying it. I also do this to my kids, parents and siblings.

January 8, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Keely said...

Great post. Hubby and I are just trying to crawl out of this rut now that the little guy is (mostly) sleeping through the night. It's compounded by our schedules, which never match, but I do believe that respect and LIKING the other person are incredibly important factors in a relationship.

January 8, 2009 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Louise said...

Thanks for the follow!

How long til that unmagical moment strikes and wipes out the bliss of the newlywed stage? It's been a little over two years for my husband and I and he says we can't call ourselves newlyweds anymore, but I still feel like one! I love having someone to say goodnight to.

January 8, 2009 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Jenni Jiggety said...

Do you know that I recently gave my husband a talkin' to over this VERY thing???

He's better now?

January 8, 2009 at 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just celebrated our 39th Anniversary. We always say "good night" to each other. On cold nights we still like to snuggle to warm each other up. We often talk till one or the other dozes off. I thought all married couples did this!

January 9, 2009 at 12:42 AM  

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