When the Kids Are Asleep

by Jamie Driggers

“Daddy used to be your best friend, but then you got married.” I laughed at my 7-year-old’s comment and assured him that he was quite mistaken. But there was a time in our marriage when my son’s assessment would have been spot on.

After my husband and I suffered through a bout of infertility, our family grew from just two to five in three years, and life became a bit manic. The days of lingering over dinner and sharing the events of the day were pushed aside for nursing babies, coaxing stubborn toddlers and wiping up spilled food. And, oh, the endless interruptions. My ears are still tired.

The time my husband and I spent together was occupied by logistical directives—what time we had to be somewhere, what bills needed to be paid, who needed to go potty and who needed a bath. I didn’t see my husband as a friend as much as another set of arms. The care of our children filled every waking moment.

Out of desperation, we began enforcing an early bedtime for our children. We suddenly had a quiet house, limited evening activities and no distractions.

With several hours to spend alone together every evening, we reconnected as a couple. We shared struggles and joys and little moments that might have been forgotten in the “How was your day?” conversation at the front door.

Before we instated the bedtime rule, we would try to discuss important issues whenever we could cram them in—usually while the kids were begging for tickles or while driving to a meeting. Tempers would flare, and we inevitably hurt each other’s feelings. Now, unless it is urgent, we put off touchy subjects until our children are safely tucked in bed, then we sit down to calmly work things out together.

Our children are a little older now, and we could probably push bedtime back to accommodate more evening activities, but we jealously guard our routine.

People often remark, “I’ve never met anyone as enthusiastic as you are about bedtime!” Of course, I am. It gave me my best friend back.

 © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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