Some people say the secret to a successful marriage is the ability to compromise.
If one person is having a bad day, the other picks up the slack. You give up the battle of his socks lying on the floor and he gives up the battle of you eating in his car. Within the compromise ring there is another facet we all do but won’t admit. We fake it. Fake what? Sleeping…
“Honey, you awake?” asks my husband. “Honey?”
I employ the basic fake sleep tactic. I control my breathing into a heavier version, keep my eyes closed, and lay still. Joey is crying and it’s my turn to get up. If I can remain still, I might trick my husband to get up instead.
“Honey, you awake?” he asks again.
I feel a gentle push on my hip. The key when hit with this maneuver from your partner is not to flinch. If you flinch, he will think you are waking up and then begin his own tactic of fake sleeping. I don’t flinch, and I add a faint snort to seal the deal. “Ugh,” he grimaces as he gets up to tend to Joey. I sink back into the mattress filled with victory.
Sometimes my strategies need refining. His tactics have become fine tuned over the years.
“Honey….you awake?” he asks.
This time the dog needs to be let out. It’s Saturday morning and it’s cold out there and the door is all the way downstairs. I hear the scratching at the door but continue to ignore it. He nudges me, I remain still. I initiate the breathing technique and add a nasal sound. I have it in the bag, or so I thought. I can feel someone staring at me. I know he is inches away from my face. I have to dig deep to not wake up. He moves in closer and stares. I can feel my face heating up. I use all my energy to keep from laughing at this point.
“Wow, you are good,” he says. I know this is another ploy to see if I am truly awake. I say nothing and he gets up to let the dog out. Victorious!
My personal favorite in the sleep standoff. This is when both of you are awake but neither one says a word. As the alarm gets louder, the dog scratches longer or the kids begin to cry neither party moves or changes their breathing. It is a battle of wills. Eventually someone has to give in by throwing the blanket over the other in a fit of surrender.
Fake sleeping is a type of compromise. Someone has to give in at some point. The dog needs to be let out, the kids tended to or the alarm turned off. Sometimes you win the battle sometimes you lose. Sounds like marriage to me.