When my husband, Trey, and I were on our honeymoon, the only time I felt a twinge of annoyance was a moment when he was sound asleep, blissfully unaware that I was glaring at him through the darkness. He was snoring! My pre-wedding notions of falling asleep in each other's arms had turned into reality—me, wide awake, next to the human tractor.
I confronted him the next morning, using my best honeymoon voice. "Sweetie, did you know that you snore? Loudly?"
He barely glanced up from his bacon as he replied, "Huh. Nope, I sure didn't."
And that was the extent of my finding peace in the arms of a silent sleeper.
After we returned home, I found out I wasn't the only one feeling as though I'd been given a less-than-perfect bedmate. One night I'd managed to ignore the noise coming from my husband long enough to fall asleep, only to have him poke me awake. I peered groggily at his sad, pouty face. "I'm hanging off the bed," he whined. "You and your pillows are on my side."
Trey had always assumed, very practically, that every person required only one pillow. I informed him, also quite practically, that I required at least four.
Over the next few days, I noticed that my pillow supply slowly and steadily diminished. "Where are all my pillows?" I asked Trey.
"I don't know," he replied innocently. Under pressure, I got him eventually to confess he was "weaning" me off them by hiding them, one at a time.
I continued to spend nights tossing and turning, always wondering why I hadn't purchased ear plugs on my last trip to the store. At the same time Trey waged war for his half of the bed, often removing my pillows from battle in the middle of the night. He formed new tactics to secure his position, such as tickling me if I got too close.
I wondered if we were ever going to resolve this dispute. Should we draw a line down the middle of the bed so we'd always know who was in the wrong territory? Should we just buy twin beds and push them together like Lucy and Ricky in I Love Lucy? And more important to my case, should I force Trey to use those uncomfortable Breathe Right® strips?
By day our relationship was happy and healthy. We cooked together, took evening walks, and dreamed about our future. But when bedtime rolled around we immediately went on the defensive. When Trey's snoring kept me awake for several hours, I'd roll around in an exaggerated way to shake him awake. Hopefully, I could fall asleep before him, giving me a precious few moments of much-needed rest. Other times I'd wake in the morning and see my pillows on the floor, knowing I hadn't put them there. My frustration was growing.
One evening, about five months later,
I asked Trey what he liked about being married. He thought only for a few seconds before responding, "Honestly? Fighting over the bed with you."
I was startled that the one area I considered a rough spot in our marriage was actually endearing to him. "Are you serious?"
"Sure," he said. "At the end of the day, I get to fall asleep next to my best friend. Or try to fall asleep, at least."
As I contemplated Trey's answer over the next few days, I thought of all the good things that come with sharing a bed with my husband. Even the not-so-good things, I realized, can breed patience and kindness as we decide to look past each other's flaws and choose love, respect, and acceptance. After all, the apostle Paul writes, "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, NASB). All things. Including a snoring husband and his pillow-obsessed wife.
Inevitably another night came with that too-familiar sound I'd grown to hate. I rolled to face Trey, ready to kick him awake. He was lying on his back—yes, snoring—but the poor guy was hanging halfway off the bed. I, on the other hand, had a nest of pillows. Suddenly, I felt guilty. So instead of trying to wake him, I did something entirely different: I gathered my pillows away from him and fell asleep.
We still have nights when we don't sleep as well as we'd like. But sometimes when I'm awake in the middle of the night, instead of glaring at Trey and feeling tempted to push him off the other side, I thank God for sending me a husband who has loved me faithfully in spite of my imperfections. Surely I can do the same.
Been married five years or less and have an issue, challenge, adjustment, or rant about marriage? Tell us about it! We'll pay $150 for each story that's featured in this column. Send it to: Starting Out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine. Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.