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It’s 3:30 a.m., and I am staring at the ceiling wondering where my husband is.
It’s the night of his Christmas party, a yearly event in which spouses aren’t invited. He works with many young, nubile, pretty things and I’m sure there is lots of drinking happening. I check my texts, but my phone is dark.
After getting a glass of water, and checking that the door isn’t bolted from the inside, I go back to sleep. Cut to morning when I roll over to the smell of a brewery next to me. My husband opens his eyes a crack.
“Fun time?” I asked him.
“Yup. Just got home from the after party a few hours ago,” he replies.
“Cool. Sleep some more and let me know when you are ready for brunch!”
With that, I bound out of bed to start my day.
Am I the coolest wife in the world? Um, no, far from it. But on the matter of staying out late I have a rather liberal attitude.
When I met my husband, we were in our early 20s, and part of the thing that brought us together was our shared passion for discovering new bars/ restaurants/ venues and hanging with our friends.
Once we got married, did it make sense to put an end to that important aspect to our relationship? We talked about implementing a curfew after we officially got hitched. We called it “the wedding hour” and after much debate, it was decided that on the respectable stroke of midnight, we would turn into pumpkins and return safely home to our beds.
The whole plane ride to our honeymoon destination (Buenos Aires) we plotted and clarified exceptions to our new rule. And then we landed and realized that Argentinians are a late night crew, with restaurants just opening for dinner at 9 p.m.
In fact, the one time we did manage to get in for supper at an early hour, we were the only diners in a wide sea of empty banquettes. The wait staff gave us the evil eye, and resented taking our order, as they got ready for the dinner crowds. In Buenos Aires, grandmothers were just getting ready to go out when we were thinking of turning in for the “wedding hour.” So, we decided, we’d implement the rule for real when we got back to Brooklyn.
But when we arrived back to “the city that never sleeps," we realized how incredibly naive we were being. When we tried to make Saturday night plans with friends at 7 p.m., they thought we were loco.
My husband is a former DJ, and although he was more than happy to hang up his headphones from all-night gigs on nights before his day job, he still has working eardrums and likes to go to venues and hear music.
I had a hard time figuring out my eveningwear; is it worth wearing heels if I was coming home before 10? Of course we attempted just staying in to binge watch shows together, drink champagne, and cuddle under a blanket. But, after a while, we stopped feeling so much like ourselves and more like a facsimile of what an old married couple is supposed to look like.
Many people would argue that couples going out until the wee hours together is different than going out separately. But, the thing is, that the most important part of a marriage is being supportive and accepting of the other person’s interests and personal life. You are now officially a couple that will be together through sickness and in health, but it’s just as important to realize that you are still individuals.
I know that although my friends love my husband, there are times that they want to just hang out with me and talk about things that my husband could not relate to. And I know that sometimes his friends want some bro-time, that I would not likely want to be a part of. Plus, doing things apart gives you the added bonus of being able to have more to talk about with your significant other. And separately partying until way past midnight gives you even more to discuss!
There’s one caveat to the rule. Part of the deal of staying out late is making sure that you are both accountable. When I’m out late with friends, I’m not trying to relive my single days and sloppily grinding on hot guys. Instead I’m usually having profound drunken conversations with my friends about having babies or house hunting-- topics that would scare off most eligible bachelors.
If marriages are based on trust, then I try to hold up my end of the bargain and act in a way that represents who I am as a wife. I leave my wedding ring definitively on.
Now that we are eight years into our marriage, I can honestly say that this independence has made our bond stronger. I meet a friend for evening yoga and go out for drinks afterwards, attend book club at a bar, go to bar openings, art openings and tasting menus with wine flights. My personal life has been enriched by the things I do without my husband. That doesn’t mean that we don’t value spending time together and frequent date nights, but those nights are peppered with stories of time spent apart.
One of my favorite quotes is by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (the guy who wrote "The Little Prince"). He said, “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” If two people are so busy staring at each other, there will be nothing new to discover.
So, back to the question: I would say that going out late bodes extremely well for your future marital success. Years and years from now, my husband and I will sit face to face in our wheelchairs, with only our life experiences to talk about, and I, for one, will be happy to hear some new material.