There are some truths in a marriage that nobody can prepare you for, like issues tucked into your marital bed.
At times like this, the best advice is: never go to bed angry (fake forgiveness and let that fury simmer through the night). I think it’s time we pull back the covers and fluff the pillows.
Unlike where your mind just went, I’m not talking about the subject of sex (it’s a family newspaper and my mom reads it so … wait for the podcast). I’m actually referring to the greater issue of bedding: bed sheets, pillows and blankets that dress the bed for our warmth and comfort. If there is one thing the Carpenter and I get rolled up in, it’s the dreaded process of making our bed. Ironically, the phrase “the bed needs making” is an absolute turn-off.
Sunday is bedding laundry day in our house. This is my task because I love fresh, clean sheets, especially when the anxiety of the pending work week often makes it hard for me to fall asleep. Crisp, fresh bedding makes me feel happy.
So, Sunday morning, I strip the bed, remove the pillow cases and separate the duvet from the cotton cover. I wash them all, toss them in the dryer one load at a time, then throw them back on the bed for assembly. But I usually get distracted by another task and forget to make the bed.
If it were up to him, the Carpenter would sleep in the same sheets for months on end. Mind you, this is a man who doesn’t even pull the covers back up to his pillow when he gets out of bed in the morning. He just flips the blankets back and gets out, leaving this massive triangle of mattress exposed. Savage.
But let me assure you, nothing upsets the Carpenter more than heading to our bedroom for his early bedtime only to find the bed is not made. Though he is fully capable of performing this bed-making task, he cannot reconcile the injustice that he has to make a bed that was perfectly fine when he got out of it that morning. Change is hard.
In these times of marital crisis (cough), the Carpenter and I silently blame each other, but resolution is compromise, so we make the bed together. It becomes a tug of war with fitted corners. We negotiate the flat sheet coverage per side. But nothing creates more frustration than the stuffing of the white duvet into the ridiculously small opening on the bottom of the duvet cover. (Who designed duvet covers? My guess: marriage counselors.)
We each attempt to make the duvet line up inside with the corners of the outside cover. I am better at this, which irritates the Carpenter, so just when I get the corners matched evenly, he grabs his end and snaps the blanket out of my hands, sending it floating into the air, landing on the bed in more disarray than when it began. I reach out to correct it, he does it again. And again. The duvet gets balled up inside the cover, but now my husband is grinning. He enjoys this more than he should.
It’s okay. As I slip on my pillow case, I fluff the pillow and smile at him wickedly, putting it gently up to his face as if to measure it, suggesting that tonight, he’d be wise to sleep with one eye open.