Aligning Your Schedules for Sex

Lionness roaring

Photo by Wouter van Vliet from The Hague, The Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons

This morning, my husband tried a couple of times to awaken me, to no avail.  Then he stood over me and said (rather loudly, from my perspective), “I want you to get up.”  You might think that I responded sweetly with, “Oh honey, I’m so glad you want to spend time with me!”  But alas, in between my growls and snipping, I bellowed, “What’s your problem!”

As it turns out, he really did just want me to be with him.  He wants us to have relatively matched schedules — going to bed and waking up around the same time.  And he’s got a point.

Some of you are married to night owls who come alive at the stroke of midnight, while others have spouses with that annoying habit of waking up early, throwing open the curtains, and greeting the morning with songs whistled at the highest decibels possible.  (Can you tell that I am not a morning person?)  And very often, a night owl marries a morning person.  As if you didn’t have enough to work through with the family backgrounds and gender differences!

I chalk it up to another humorous part of marital sexuality — trying to get those schedules matched so that we can both enjoy some face-to-face, body-to-body time.  Sometimes what gets in the way of getting it on is simply that you are exhausted by 11:00 p.m. and he’s raring to go.  Or you’re up at the crack of dawn and have plenty of early-morning energy to make love while you she’s sprawled across the bed snoring and drooling into the pillow.  What to do? What to do?

Perhaps you should benefit from my years of experience on what doesn’t work:

Cupping your morning beast’s lovely breast and squeezing at 5:00 a.m. is not the best signal that you adore her and wish to be intimate.

Straddling his sleeping body and bouncing may arouse his little guy but the big guy is still pretty dang tired and not so happy that he’s awake.

Demanding in a hostile tone that he stay up later or she wake up earlier is not likely to lead to a morning/evening of memorable lovemaking.

Trying to get the kids to bed earlier so you can enjoy time before one of you dozes off mid-sentence will work for one or two nights.  Then, the little knee-biters will consult their union manual and stage a rather effective protest.

What does work?  Negotiation.  Compromise.  (Don’t we married people LOVE those words?!)

The truth is that keeping similar bedtimes will indeed be one more thing to foster opportunity for sexual intimacy in your marriage.  It’s a great idea!  Waking up together also encourages time together — for physical and emotional connection.

Maybe your compromise is that the night owl goes to bed to earlier and then gets back up after his/her spouse falls asleep.  Maybe you negotiate days of the week to go to bed early and days to sleep in.  Maybe one of you simply shifts the schedule to match the other for now, knowing that it can change in the future.  (For instance, a stay-at-home mom might shift to her husband’s early schedule if she can manage a nap sometime in the day.)  It’s worth discussing your mismatched schedules to find a solution so that you can spend more time together.

Too many couples have one spouse crawling into bed early, while the other stays up watching television late into the night.  In the morning, the early-to-bed one is indeed early to rise, and the night owl wakes long after.  And before you know it, two people vowed to love and cherish, be there for one another, and grow in intimacy daily pass each other like ships in the night.  You lose your sense of emotional closeness, and the physical closeness fades as well.  That’s not the way it’s meant to be!

Make it a priority to be IN BED WITH YOUR SPOUSE at times when you are both awake — morning or night.  It will give you a chance to talk and spend time together.  And that will cultivate those moments of “Hey, while we’re here, honey…”  Then enjoy!

“All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves;

I looked for him but did not find him.

Song of Songs 3:1

13 thoughts on “Aligning Your Schedules for Sex

  1. UK Fred

    And before you know it, there is resentmenmt brewing because she is only interested on the evenings when he wants to have a chat with is mates in the bar, and he is only interested on the evenings when she wants to watch the “can’t miss it” program on TV that doesn’t start until after the late news.

  2. Heather

    Wondering what you might suggest for me, hoping maybe an outside view might help.

    My hubby manages a restaurant, usually by the time he gets home in the evenings it’s close to 2am, meaning a 3am bedtime or later if we take a little more time to enjoy one another. We’re both night owls thankfully, and I wait up for him, but we have 2 little ones. While we are blessed that they sleep in until around 8am, a consistent pattern of only 5 hours of sleep is not working for me, physically, mentally, or emotionally. He has never gotten up with them and tends to stay in bed until usually 10 or 11am.

    We’ve talked, we’ve fought, but nothing ever changes. Most days I do ok at praying off the resentment, but is there something we’re missing? I hate going to bed without him for the reasons you’ve mentioned (I tried it for awhile and it was horrible for our marriage.) I just feel like I’m not taking care of myself and it’s affecting my parenting and probably our marriage in ways we can’t yet see…

  3. J

    I admit that’s a difficult scenario, Heather! I’ll throw out a few suggestions that occurred to me, and perhaps another reader will have some wisdom to add.

    Could you go to bed earlier with the understanding that he will awaken you when he returns home? That breaks up your night into two sections of sleeping, but you might get more sleep anyway.

    Can you grab a nap during the day? If childcare is an issue, perhaps a grandparent, friend, or teen could pitch in so you can get a little snooze daily or every few days.

    Does your husband have a day off each week when he can care for the kids and let you have a few hours to get in a long nap?

    Whatever you do, try to approach it positively with an “I miss you” attitude, rather than a “You never…” approach. Suggest something specific and be willing to renegotiate if that doesn’t work. Ask him for possible solutions if he doesn’t like yours. Let your hubby know that you appreciate him working so hard and providing for the family, and then ask to deal with this one issue as a mutual problem that you want to resolve.

    Okay, that’s my two cents. Now let’s see if some wise person out there has a great idea!

  4. Jocelyn

    I have recently begun trying to get myself on some sort of normal sleep schedule. I am all over the place with my most productive hours being between 10pm-3am. My husband however goes to bed at 9pm and has to be up by 5am so you can see how that causes a problem especially since we don’t get home until around 6pm every evening. With things to do like dinner, chores and preparation for the next day we don’t get to spend that much time together. We’ve both decided to compromise a bit and try to see if we can get on the same schedule. Would definitely make regular sex (a huge priority to him and me) easier. I have never been partial to being woken up from my slumber for sex. I think a couple needs to discuss (because a person should know) when they are most receptive to sexual advances. Good luck people! I’m trying to board this train as well.

  5. Zookie

    Too funny! I do not like to get up early and my dearest husband cannot stand for anyone to be in bed past 8:00 a.m. Him: Get up! You’re sleeping the day away! Me: GGGnnnnmmh. Him: Rise and shine!

    Anyway, My husband and I have sometimes been on the same schedule, at least for bed times, but usually not. For years he had to be up around 3:30 a.m. for work. There was no way I could go to bed at the same time as him during those years, so I would wake him up for a little lovin’ when I came to bed. We’ve have to work around our schedules a lot. He still has to get up much earlier than I do, but he doesn’t need as much sleep as I do, either, so sometimes it works that we go to bed at the same time. I work from home and sometimes I do my work during the night, especially during the summer when the kids are home all day. We’ll go to bed, then he’ll go to sleep, and I’ll get up and go to work.

    Also, a few years ago I told him he could wake me in the night any time he wanted to and I wouldn’t say no to him.

    All these compromises help!

  6. Julie Sibert

    Great post Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous. As a bride to a husband who has worked weird hours for the past four years, I have one tip that may be helpful…

    There’s no reason why you can’t make love and then one person stay up and one go to bed. In other words, let’s say the night owl still has boundless energy till 1 a.m., but the other spouse wants to be sleeping by 10:30. Well, make love around 10 p.m…. then the night owl can get back up and continue on with their night, and the other spouse can go to sleep.

    It has worked for us to do this occasionally.

  7. Julie Sibert

    Hey J… I just realized after re-reading your post that the suggestion I gave in my first comment is one you pretty much cover in your post. Ha! That will teach me to not read so fast.

    Anyway, great post!

  8. kurlyfryz

    My Mr and I have been doing this since we got married (Jan 2010). I was a student, and now I am seeking employment. He works a normal 9 to 5, so it’s very easy to adapt my schedule to his, and it gives my days some structure. We cuddle every night before falling asleep and every morning before getting out of bed. It is so wonderful! It keeps us feeling affectionate and connected, especially during busy weeks. I will be sad if our schedules ever have to diverge. I don’t understand couples who have this opportunity and pass it up.

  9. Heather

    Thanks for the suggestions! As much as I’m not thrilled about the idea of being woken up, that might be the best thing for us right now. Hoping that as the boys get a little older we can set them down in front of a movie or something and snag some extra time to ourselves. Just don’t want to let the mommy/wife balance swing too far in either direction.

    Thanks for this blog too, I just found it and have been so blessed by so many of the posts!

  10. J

    Heather – Perhaps I should have added that weekend afternoons have become a nice opportunity for me and my husband as well (thank you, Wii!). The kids are fine, and we get a few minutes to ourselves. If morning/evening just won’t work, be creative and figure out something that will! Blessings!

  11. Calonder Crew

    My husband and I are on different schedules for waking up (he’s up super early and I hate mornings), but we go to bed at the same time. However, because he is a morning person, and I’m not, I’m raring to go at night and he is in the morning. We compromise (ok, mostly, he compromises!) most of the time. One of the best compromises for us is middle-of-the-afternoon “naps.” We have six children, ranging in age from 3-15, but we can usually keep them busy for a little while in the afternoons! And that can be the best fun of all!

  12. Jackie Koll

    I agree with this post but sometimes, life doesn’t allow it. I know others have stated about work schedules and that is the phase of life we are in right now. My husband gets up around 1;45 or 2:00 every morning so he goes to be at 7;30. I’m sorry, I can’t match that schedule right now and no, we don’t enjoy it! Most nights, due to working 14-16 hours at a physical job, he literally falls into bed and just needs to sleep. We try to keep weekends on the same schedule. But the week, not going to work 🙂

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