Are We on the Same Page?

The nighttime ritual was happening again.

To wind down at night, Jeff liked to watch a TV show. I liked to read a book. But as I’ve aged, I need a quiet room when I read, and the TV is never quiet.

We tried many ways to compromise. I’d put in earbuds with white noise so I could read, and Jeff could keep the TV volume on. Or he would put on headphones connected to the TV, so I wouldn’t hear the sound while I read.

It semi-worked.

Until a few months ago…

This one night is when I knew everything had changed.

I was in bed reading a novel—Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty—with Jeff sitting beside me.

I was mid-paragraph when all of a sudden I gasped and got chill bumps all over.

Jeff felt them on me, too.

He looked at me. I looked at him.

I explained what I’d just read, “Joy just walked into the room!!!”

He knew exactly what that meant. Because he had already read this book himself. He smiled. I smiled.

He was actually the one who recommended the book to me. He understood why I’d gotten chill bumps on this page.

That’s when I knew for sure we’ve entered a new phase of our relationship. It’s not just that he has retired and we’re both home together. It’s that he has officially become a book lover, too!

It happened gradually, to be sure. A small book here, a long novel there. But month by month, Jeff started reading and enjoying books more and more. (To be fair, he’d been a long-time lover of audio books during his daily commute to and from work.) But now he is seeing for himself why I loved reading books all these years. Our library runs are now for him as much as for me.

Our tastes in books still aren’t exactly the same. He can take more suspense than I can (he likes Clive Cussler and David Baldacci books; they’re too adventurous for me), and I still reach for a non-fiction book as my first choice (I’m currently excited about Nonviolent Communication and an older book by Richard Rohr, two books that Jeff would never pick up).

But these days, more often than not, when Jeff finishes a novel and suggests I’d like it too, I take him seriously. I add it to my list. And he’s been right every time so far. (His latest two recommendations were The Last House on the Street and The Downstairs Neighbor; I loved them both.)

We literally read the same pages of a book. I never imagined it.

We still sometimes struggle with the bedtime routine, but nowadays it’s because I’m ready to turn on a sitcom to wind down (15 years late, I’m finally watching The Office) and he’s the one who is 200 pages into a good book he’s not ready to put aside.

Never underestimate the twists and turns that our stories can take.

This is one storyline I hadn’t seen coming.

But I’m very grateful we’re on the same page now.

Are we on the same page

Are you or your partner book lovers, too? Do you share another similar hobby? Share in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “Are We on the Same Page?

  1. Martha J Orlando

    I love this story of how your relationship has grown and changed over the years, Lisa. I still can’t get Danny to read a book for pleasure, although he will read all kinds of things on the internet. I think it’s marvelous, too, that you all are liking the same books for the most part. Just wow!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    That’s lovely. I love this story, Lisa! And yes, you are now on the same page! 😉 I was NEVER a reader, until I was, and that came after college. I read all my assignments (books, etc), and wrote papers about them, but I was not drawn to reading; I wouldn’t do it on my own. Now I suffer from tsundoku, and have so many piles of books stacked up to read. I can’t seem to get enough of them. I have taken over the kitchen table (and many other areas of the house) because of this penchant for books! But interestingly, not the bedroom. We have twin wingback chairs facing each other in front of the fireplace, and an ottoman to share. I had visions of reading together at night, b/c Michael nixed a TV in the bedroom when we moved to the new house (now, 29 yrs ago). But I thought we could read together. He’s not game. He generally retires earlier, and the light would keep him awake; and as a courtesy, I don’t read in the room at night. But I would love to have book discussions with him. He simply will NOT read books! I don’t know what it is. And he is one of the most intelligent, well-informed people on the planet. He knows EVERYTHING. And if I need to know a word, I just ask him. The only vocab that stumped him was from Melville’s Moby Dick, which he excuses because it’s archaic. So, I’ve come to accept that he doesn’t prefer to read books, and it’s okay, because he never balks about my telling him what I’m reading (or having an intelligent discussion about it). It doesn’t mean he is not well-read (from his earlier days in school–and he was required to read a lot, and deep, deep books at that), and he is up to date on current events. So, yes, he is reading (but not books). And he is my world’s best editor; so he’s pretty much stuck with reading MY stuff! 🙂 In the end, it’s okay if we are not on the same page, literally, as long as our “life’s book” is in sync.

    BTW, I love your book recommendations, Lisa, and often follow them…I can’t wait to dig into the one on guns.

    Thanks for all you share and the windows into your personal world!

  3. Kym

    Oh how sweet!! I love this story! My husband and I are both readers, but our tastes are quite different so it’s special when we both love the same book. Visiting from IMM#23

  4. Jeff

    You are absolutely correct! Never thought I would love to read but here I am. I give you all the credit and yes it is odd when we now at times have role reversals. This goes with many other things we like to share together.

  5. Jean Wise

    love this post and glad to know I am not the only one who needs quiet in order to read. I find as I grow older, to focus takes more effort or I wonder if it is all the screen time I do that has lessened my attention,

  6. Tea With Jennifer

    Positive twist & turns in a relationship are always interesting, Lisa.

    I’m the reader but also enjoy tv screen time watching old favourites.

    Hubby enjoys watching & listening to his interests on the screen but not necessarily on the tv.

    The only common hobby we have is Sky watching through our telescopes.

    Although hubby can stay out in the cold night air far longer than I find it comfortable to do so.
    Blessings, Jennifer

  7. Lois Flowers

    Such a fun post, Lisa. So wonderful that you and Jeff now enjoy reading together. Randy and I do too. We also rarely read the same books, but we each will occasionally suggest one that we’re pretty sure the other will like. I love it when that happens. 🙂

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