Insomnia is something I struggle with often.

It’s the nature of my busy mind and sharing a bed with a snoring spouse. Many a night I lay awake watching my husband, the Carpenter, sleep comfortably while I ruminate over everything that has ever happened, or potentially could happen.

The Carpenter and I never go to sleep at the same time. He has a strict schedule for his work: early to bed, early to rise. I am a night-hawk. I love the silence of the house when everyone is asleep. I work late.

One night, well past midnight, I quietly entered our bedroom, pulled back the sheets, and made every effort to slip into bed without any major disruptions.

Then, I started rolling about, pulling the blankets to my side, flipping my pillow over to the cool side, smacking it a few times, flopping about until everything felt just right. You know how a dog spins in circles about four times before it settles in a spot? That’s my bedtime routine. The Carpenter isn’t usually disturbed by this.

Imagine my surprise when I finally settled and closed my eyes, and heard the Carpenter say, “I can’t sleep.” Poor baby. He had headed to his pillow hours ago.

I’m a very compassionate spouse (I know you believe me) and so I rolled over to face him and sweetly ask how I could help. Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but you don’t know us. Before this story could take a romantic turn, the Carpenter said in a deep, sultry voice, “You could talk to me, that usually puts me to sleep.” Even in the dark, he is a funny guy.

But with me, he’s met his match. I wasn’t offended. Many times I have subdued my gentle giant to sleep simply with the hypnotic nature of my voice. I have tested this theory usually on our couch, just to get my hands on the television remote.

I speak softly, steadily, until I see his eyes close. He fights it, trying to keep his big brown eyes open, pretending he is listening, and I let him think I am oblivious. I talk a little softer, a little more monotone. Then, as his head starts to fall forward and I can see he’s about to go under my sleep spell, I grab the remote. It’s like charming a snake, really.

This night was the Carpenter’s payback.

“Tell me a story,” he said seductively, if sarcasm can be seductive. “Why don’t you tell me about your day?” If it’s possible for my spouse to giggle, that is what he did.

“Wait, I know, tell me about work. Tell me a story about office politics.” He laughed. He was enjoying himself now.

Not to be outdone, I offered to talk about my feelings, because there is nothing a man enjoys more than when a woman expresses their innermost emotional state. Another outburst of laughter.

Then I kindly offered to hold a pillow over his face. He suggested I put my head under the blankets. He had gas. This is our version of pillow talk.

At that we rolled over to our individual sides, laughing. The Carpenter was asleep in minutes, but I lie there thinking this was the second best thing to do in bed.

What? The first is sleep, naturally.