The Three Rules…
When we first got married, I was constantly away from home. A day on duty where I had to stay all night; a few days or weeks underway for this op or that work-up; 6 month deployments. You get the picture. At one point, we jokingly sat down and did the math and figured that in the first four years of our marriage we had physically slept in the same bed for less than a year and a half of it.
So, somewhere along that road, we agree to three simple rules that we would make the foundational bedrock of our marriage.
Rule #1: Sleep in the same bed whenever possible.
We would sleep in the same bed, no matter what, as long as there wasn’t a condition that dictated we couldn’t. Ok, sounds simple enough. I mean, we were young, we were in love, and we liked each other (most of the time). So, why would this even be a rule?
Because, in moments of anger and being upset, sleeping on the couch seems to be an option open for any marriage. I didn’t want it to be part of ours. I figured we had spent enough time apart (thanks again Uncle Sam), the nights we were together we needed to make it a point to sleep in the same bed. We were married after all, and it is one of the fringe benefits of being married (I’m talking about sleeping here folks, not the other bedroom activity).
Oddly enough, the first rule leads directly into the second rule.
Rule #2: Don’t go to bed angry.
Again, a simple one, and kind of based on the bible verse about not letting the sun go down on your anger. The rule doesn’t mean you can’t be upset, disappointed or hurt. It means you can’t be angry. And anger is a funny thing. It writhes just below the surface, twisting and morphing your mind to justify thoughts and actions.
Oddly enough, you would be amazed at how quickly you can work things out when you are dog tired and just want to sleep. Ok, working things out might seem a stretch, but at least get to a place where you aren’t angry. And science even backs me up on this rule.
So… there’s one for science.
Rule #3: Clothing is not an option
Ok, I might get in trouble for sharing this one, but if you have been married for any length of time, you can appreciate this rule. I am sure I will hear a lot of feedback from some people about how kids walk in, or whatever, and to that I say “They make locks on doors for a reason.”
And yes, there are circumstances that will dictate that you have to break this rule. However, those are exceptions. This is the rule. After all, you’re married, and again you might as well enjoy the benefits (ok, maybe this time I’m not talking about sleeping).
As with all things, there are going to be exceptions. We have broken all of these rules in our marriage. But that’s part of the understanding and compromise that goes into a relationship. It’s when you break them on purpose (which has happened a few times) that there is a problem because it means you don’t respect the agreement you have made with your partner.
The other side of that is when you use the rule to cause conformity by bashing the other person over the head with it. That’s not right either. By the way, guilty as charged on all accounts.
So, those are our three rules, and although I don’t suggest you steal ours, I do suggest you come up with some of your own, because without rules, there is just chaos, and as I’m sure you have already noticed, there is enough chaos in marriage as it is, no need to go inviting more into it.
But, then again, that’s just my opinion.
And what do I know?