The Most Sensitive Time Of DayIn my opinion, the most vulnerable, sensitive time in marriage is the time right before sleep.
There's so much wrapped up in that time... The possibility of sex is there (especially if there are kids and their bedtime brings the only privacy). The question of whether that time will be spent together, in separate rooms, or with one partner still out somewhere. The decisions, if together, on how to spend that last time of the day: reading, talking, watching tv, cuddling, making love, doing beauty routines, etc.
And there's the nightly "goodbye." How do we choose to part from each other for sleep? Does one partner disappear without a word into the bedroom, snoring by the time the other arrives? Do we kiss and say goodnight? Do we cuddle our way into dreamland? Do we silently turn our backs to each other, night after night, without ever touching? Does one partner often feel dissatisfied with the way the evening ends?
When Husband's custom gradually shifted away from evening closeness and talking, to solid 3-hour blocks of computer programming and 'net surfing in bed, followed by turning out the light and going right to sleep, I got upset. Many nights, I was filled with utter disbelief. Knowing that I'd often expressed my desire to end the night together, I'd sit and wait for him to finish his stuff online, trusting that he would eventually "come back" to me and set aside a little time to talk about his day, current events, etc., and maybe give me a kiss before sleep. Sometimes I would specifically ask for time to cuddle and talk right away, and he'd agree to do so, "after I finish this"-- but then he'd take forever and get exhausted, and not keep his word. But no matter how many times I expressed my sadness at the terrible ending to our evening, he would continue on this way.
Husband always used "sleepiness" as a way to avoid intimacy. Hey, it's a great excuse, right? Because he CAN'T HELP IT if he's so tired, right?? Can't talk tonight, because I'm so exhausted that I can't stay awake! Can't have sex tonight, because I am going to sleep now!
I used to think this was just unsolvable because I was an insomniac and he would get sleepy earlier than me. But as I've learned to recognize passive-aggressive behavior, I've realized that he chose to use up all his alert, waking time on other things... so that when he finally appeared to honor my wishes and set aside the last minutes for time to connect... he was falling asleep in the middle of sentences.
Now, Husband is much better about this. After years of me getting upset and him falsely "apologizing" and appearing to agree but still ruining it in practice.... Husband finally makes our nighttime endings a priority. He shows enthusiasm for our closeness, and he misses it when we can't end our night with talking and touching.
There have been a scant few times when I've noticed that he's gotten close to using his old tricks. But now I see what's going on, and I confront him about it. It might **** him off a bit, but then he proactively does the opposite-- partly to prove me wrong. :-) And I don't mind one bit! Sure, Husband, show me I'm wrong by talking & laughing with me, giving me *******, and being awesome!! Oh, woe is me!!
I have always believed that marriages benefit by making each night a SWEET ENDING, in whatever way is satisfying to both spouses.