So here I am on a Thursday night wandering around the house looking for something to do besides go to sleep. My kids fell asleep about two hours ago. So did my husband. He didn't turn in early because he was tired. He didn't fall asleep on the couch watching TV as I've heard some spouses do. He fell asleep putting our daughter to bed. This happens about once a week so I really should be used to it. I should relish having a quiet house in which to read a book or, say, write a blog post, but I don't. I'm annoyed that I'm missing out on time alone with my husband.
It wouldn't really matter to me if we just watched Seinfeld re-runs and didn't even talk. I just want to have a shared experience. This is a fundamental difference between men and women. To Jim, falling asleep at nine pm is funny and kind of nice. Boy, I was tired, he'll say tomorrow, grinning. He'll tell me how he woke up and put his pajamas on at two am. Then he'll go on with his day.
Now ladies, I know you're thinking that tomorrow I should kick up a fuss over the whole thing. I should pout around the house until he asks me what's wrong, or go straight in and begin the complaining how he never spends enough time with me, etc. But let me tell you, that is exactly the wrong thing to do.
After eleven years of marriage, I have realized that trying to make a man feel guilty for things he didn't think he did wrong in the first place doesn't work. It just creates this huge gap between you two. He wonders what you're on about. You wonder how he can be so daft. You start questioning the whole state of your marriage-- over an early bed time.
What works with men is a direct request for their time and attention. This request must not contain any hidden guilt trips, secret pre-requisites, or dishonest statements. Tomorrow, when I see my husband again, I will simply ask to spend some time with him, which is all I really wanted in the first place.
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