Diary of a Marriage: My Husband, The Drill Sergeant

My husband is a morning person. I am not. How’s this supposed to work, again?

Every morning at precisely 6:35am, our ritual begins.

My alarm clock goes off, a particularly annoying staccato beep. I hit snooze. A few minutes later, J., who’s already been up for at least a half an hour and is shaving in the bathroom, shuts off the alarm for good. Ten minutes later, he’s back. He gently pulls at the covers. I tug them back, and plead for ten more minutes. He bargains with me, and gives me two. I ask for five. We settle on three, though we both know that three really means ten. At 6:55, he rips the covers off and yanks at my ankles, pulling my legs off the bed. Then he grabs my arms, heaves me to a standing position, and half-guides, half-pushes me to the bathroom by my shoulders.  I am awake.

During the school year, J. leaves soon after this. But, as a teacher, he’s got summers off — which means he’s free to sleep in. But, still, even in the thick of summer’s swelter, he sets his alarm clock every morning, perfectly content to wake up and serve as my human alarm clock and, even better, to drive me to the train station. I appreciate it; I truly do. And that’s exactly what I was trying to explain to J. the other morning when I freaked out and begged him to just go back to bed.

The way I get ready is similar to the way I used to go about writing papers in college: procrastination followed by a panic-driven burst of productivity. I guess I work best under pressure. J. doesn’t work like this, which is probably why it panics him when I’m standing in my closet in a skirt and a bra, staring blankly at my clothes when my train leaves in twenty minutes.

He’s taken to giving me countdowns and reports on my progress. They go something like this:

[As I’m brushing my teeth dazedly and for much longer than necessary] “You do realize that you’ve been awake for ten minutes and have nothing to show for it, right?”

[As I’m standing in the full-length mirror wearing two different shoes, head cocked, lifting one leg and then the other in an attempt to choose between the two] “If you don’t hurry up, you’re going to miss your train and then you’re going to be late for work.”

[As I’m  trying to choose between pale gloss and tangerine lipstick] “Your train is leaving in ten minutes, you know.”

[As I ask him what he thinks of my outfit] “What do I think? I think that you need to go.”

These pointed comments infuriate me. And the drive to the train doesn’t get any better, either. I sit in the passenger seat, secretly wishing that I was behind the wheel because, unbeknownst to J., I usually drive approximately 70 miles an hour down our sleepy street to make it to the train on time. J., though, refuses to do this.

“I’m not driving like a maniac because you can’t ever be on time,” he says. This infuriates me. Aren’t we supposed to be a team? I pout and think to myself that if we ever turn to a life of crime, he’s most definitely not going to be allowed to drive the getaway car.

Our mornings were devolving into stupid arguments. Something had to change, and we both knew it. One morning, during a particularly testy car ride, I cracked.

“This isn’t working,” I said.

He stared stonily ahead. “I know.”

I sighed. “I mean, I love you, and I appreciate you, but we … need to end this.”

He set his jaw. “I agree.”

There was a loaded silence.

“So tomorrow I’ll drive myself, then.”


And that was that. Now I kiss him softly on the cheek before I leave, and he mumbles “I love you.” And then I sprint out the door, because I’m running late.

Do you and your significant other get along in the morning? How do you make it work when one of you is a morning person and the other is not? Share your secrets in the comments!



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