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We’re Burnin’ Daylight!

May 19, 2011

My college roommate burst into tears one morning when the girl across the hall sprung from her room, humming a happy tune and continued down the hall to break into song in the shower.

“How can she be so happy in the morning!?” My roommate wailed. I commiserated with her as I answered with a pain-filled, “Mmmph.” We were well matched as roommates as neither one of us were morning people.

As a matter of fact, all my brothers and sisters are night people, night owls, or night stalkers…whatever you call us. Whenever my phone rings at midnight or after, I never have to check caller ID because I know without a doubt it is family calling. Generally we start gearing up at about 8 p.m. and can be productive until after 1 a.m. Sometimes we have to make ourselves go to bed because we know we have to work the next day. I know some of you can relate.

Coming from a family like this, I never stopped to think that body clocks and sleep factors could be an issue in marriage. Our first real clash came at 6 a.m. on one of our first vacations, when my husband announced, “C’mon, rise and shine! We’re burnin’ daylight! Get up and let’s get going!” Let’s just say the unpleasantness that followed is something we still both vividly remember. I realized in horror that I married a morning person. He was a morning person, his parents are morning people and his grandparents were morning people.

Over the years we learned to adapt to our night person/morning person mixed marriage, but it wasn’t easy. It took a while for me to understand that he was almost incapable of engaging conversation after 9 p.m. It also took him a while to understand that to me vacation meant sleeping in and catching up on rest, not trailblazing at 7 a.m. We found a living pattern that worked for both of us. No judgments, just acceptance. I stopped accusing him of not caring about me because he couldn’t have meaningful evening conversations and he never, ever woke me again at 6 a.m. when we were on vacation. Actually he is now very careful about waking me at all, unless I have asked him to do so.

As hard as we have worked at this mixed marriage and as much respect as we have found in our differences, I still marvel when I get up on Saturday mornings to find my husband cheerfully greeting me with fresh coffee and engaging conversation. I quietly sip my first cup of coffee and think, Yes, this is the charming, engaging man I married, but how can he be so happy in the morning?


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