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