“It’s so funny,” I begin, making the bed as my partner sips coffee from my desk chair, “when it’s just me here, my covers are basically just in the same spot in the morning as they were when I fell asleep the night before. But when you spend the night, all the blankets end up untucked and all over the place.”
I don’t say this critically, but rather as an observation. But he is also observing me as I slide the top sheet under the mattress at the foot of the bed. He comments on this, seemingly unclear as to why I’m doing it.
“That’s how you make a bed?” I defend myself, convinced he is pulling my leg.
“Wait,” he says as a slow realization dawns, “do you leave the hotel sheets tucked in?”
“Of course???” Now I am fully lost.
“That’s wild,” he replies, “that’s like one of the first things I do at a hotel. Untuck the sheets.”
For a moment, I am horrified and my mind flashes ahead to the thousands of mornings in my future where I will be retucking bed sheets. Until he points out the obvious—he is six foot four. The sheets being tucked in at the bottom doesn’t really work for him. He’s just too tall for the bed.
As we realize this, we both fall into the easy laughter that comes naturally with someone you love so much. I remember when I moved into my current apartment and the super, upon seeing my partner, graciously offered to move the hanging hallway lights up so he would only have to slightly duck to walk under them. Of course we move through the world differently.
And if we’re experiencing the world differently based on our heights alone, what else are we experiencing differently based on our lived experiences? The towns we grew up in? Our family dynamics? Our educational backgrounds? Our dating history? Our career paths? Our hobbies and passions? Of course we experience things differently.
That day, as we laughed over this simple and delightful exchange over bedsheets I realized two things. First, I may have thousands of mornings tucking in covers—or I may learn to live with it untucked. But second, and more importantly, I will (hopefully) have thousands of moments like this, coming together with the person I love to figure out where the difference lies and how we can work through it together.
It’s easy to disagree with someone—over bedsheets and over more complicated and serious topics. And it can be challenging to try to see things from another perspective. But perhaps it is worth keeping in mind the vastly differently lives someone else may have lived. Perhaps it is worth asking a clarifying question or two so that you can come to that sudden understanding together… so that you both can leave the conversation feeling heard, respected, and cared for… so you can both add that conversation to your toolkit of healthy communication.