Diary of a Marriage: ‘Til Nap Do Us Part

After four years of marriage, J. finally realizes what he has to do in order to spend time with me: Learn to take naps.


I am sitting on the couch, taking one of those personality tests you find in magazines. You know the ones: They tell you what color you’d be, if you were a color, or what dessert you’d be, if you were, in fact, a dessert. My mom has forwarded me this online quiz, which is supposed to tell me which animal I would be, if I were an animal. I come to question #7:

In a perfect day—no work, deadlines or chores—how would you spend an afternoon?

A. Visiting museums or other cultural institutions

B. Watching TV

C. Doing some form of exercise (e.g. walking, biking, hiking)

D. Spending time with friends/family

Hm. Let’s see. I want to choose A. because that would mean I’m a well-rounded, cultured person who does well-rounded, cultured things, but I know I’d be lying. On to B. I’d probably watch some TV, yes, but that’s not all I’d do. Plus, I cleared out my DVR yesterday, so I wouldn’t have anything to watch. I’m not even going to look at C., which I decide is probably a trick answer that, when you click on it, brings up a flashing box: “We have determined that this answer is a lie, because no person would ever really choose to spend a perfect day exercising. Based on very scientific calculations, you exhibit devious, destructive traits. You are a gross little weasel.” On to D. I very much like spending time with friends, but I’d probably rather see them for a nice long wine-soaked dinner, really.

What I need is a write-in-your-answer option. Because I know, deep down in my non-weasel soul, that what I’d most likely do is not on that list.

E. Take a nap.

I’ve been a napper since I was little. It’s one of my favorite things to do: Curl up with a book in the middle of the afternoon while the sun filters in through sheer curtains, making dancing leafy patterns on the wall. I drift in and out of sleep, sometimes waking up to read a few pages before drowsing off again. Bliss. If the nap is on a beach, that’s even better, but I’ll take a chair, bed, couch, floor, train, truck bed, grassy knoll, anything remotely horizontal. At my first post-college job—a horrifically boring temp gig—I sometimes even took quick naps in my car over my lunch break, something I’m not particularly proud of.

My penchant for nap-taking wouldn’t be much of a problem, had I not married someone who, if he’d taken my Animal Personality Quiz, would be one of the four people in the world who could actually honestly put down choice C.

J. wakes up early to play tennis—as in, he sets his alarm—and when I call him to say I’ll be home from work late, he frantically schedules last-minute court time, or scoots to the gym for cardio. It’s really quite inhuman. Between his exercising and my napping, sometimes it seems we hardly ever see each other.

I’ve always wanted to take naps with J. I would be a sort of bonding activity—and I’d feeling less guilty about spending what could be valuable couple time unconscious. Alas, J. and I are on very different internal clocks. My bursts of energy come late at night, when normal people sleep (probably why I’m so keen on midday snoozing); J.’s a bit more structured; You sleep at night, you are awake during the day. End of story.

I’ve tried to lure him into taking a nap with me. The conversation often takes on a weird drug-dealer tone: “Come on, you’ll love it … Once you take one, you’ll know what you’ve been missing … Just let yourself experience it … It’s just so sublime, babe.” But, really, my only hope for co-napping is a two-month window in the summer when J. does his summer reading to prep for the upcoming school year. It’s during this time that we curl up on the bed in the middle of the afternoon and read together. Sometimes, I feel him twitch suddenly and I know he’s falling asleep. Here, I hold my breath, fearing that even the rise and fall of my chest will be enough to stir him awake. I try not to swallow, or even blink. But he always wakes up a few minutes later, finished with reading, ready to Do Stuff.

But then there was last weekend. J. and I had just finished watching a movie. It was early in the afternoon, and we’d decided that this day would be a lazy day—no work or laundry or errands. We lay on the couch, and I felt the familiar twitch, followed by a little snore: He was asleep. I stopped moving, held my breath, and willed him to stay asleep. After a few minutes of listening to J.’s level breathing, I started inwardly rejoicing: We were doing it! We were napping! Hoorah! Of course, I wasn’t exactly sleeping—in fact, my nose was crushed rather uncomfortably against his neck and, God, his body was so freakishly hot—but we were soclose.

After 15 minutes or so, J. woke up. He lifted his head, looked at me with eyes glazed over with sleep, and seemed about to say something. I waited. But he repositioned himself, adjusted the throw pillow beneath his head, pulled me closer and closed his eyes. Before long, he was asleep again, his legs twitching crazily. I eventually fell asleep, too, and we took our first-ever afternoon nap. It was glorious.

Back to my personality quiz. I choose ‘watch TV,’ since that is the laziest, close-to-napping choice, and then I answer the rest of the questions. I click ‘Find out what animal you are!’ at the bottom, secretly hoping I’m a Golden Retriever or something equally beloved. Maybe a zebra—I do love zebra prints. Turns out I’m part otter, part beaver. I’m a little perturbed. Otter? Really? I consider switching my answer to ‘spending time with friends’ to see if that gets me in Golden Retriever territory. Instead, I put in a load of laundry, grab a book, and burrow into the couch for a quick nap before J. gets home from tennis.

Is there anything you absolutely love doing for which your groom has never joined you, despite your pleas?



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