Is there an easier way to wake up a spouse?

Published 9:36 am Friday, July 31, 2015

“I know you were tired,” I told my wife as she asked for my forgiveness. Sometimes people just aren’t themselves until they’ve fully woken up in the morning. At the very least, they aren’t the person they want to be, which is why Sera was apologizing for yelling at me when I woke her up.

Sera and I have known for a long time that I’m much more of a morning person between the two of us. I wouldn’t ever describe myself as a morning person, but my wife is much further away from that descriptor on the continuum of early bird vs. night owl. Our routine has me awaking, taking a shower, taking care of Beesly, our dog, and grabbing some breakfast all before she arises. If I’m being honest, I prefer it this way. Unfortunately about once a week I’ll glance at the clock on my computer and realize Sera should be up by now. Somehow she’s slept through her alarms, and that is exactly what happened today.

My wife suggested I should write about the best ways to wake up your spouse, but I have yet to find one I’d deem preferable. Certainly my methods are effective, but Sera never seems eager to join me in the land of the living each morning. I’ve tried gently nudging, striking up a conversation, playing some music, tickling and more, but she mostly just mumbles while she turns over to the side opposite of me. After a bit of research online, I had her download an app that made her do a math problem on her phone in order for the alarm to turn off. She somehow found a cheat to get out of that one. Other suggestions recommend opening the blinds so a person can wake up to natural light. Knowing that Sera often sleeps with a pillow over her head (and sometimes even with a scarf wrapped around her eyes), I’m pretty sure she is actively working against this approach. She’s even taken to closing the window in the middle of the night before the birds arise so she won’t have to hear them chirping in the morning. It’s clear I’m running out of options.

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Early into our marriage I liked to imagine that saying, “I love you,” would be enough to illicit an echoed response from sleepy Sera. If she ever did respond back clearly, those days are long gone. I can only assume her mumbles are expressing her returned love for me, but it’s entirely possible she’s saying, “let me sleep.”

This morning’s exchange was quite a surprise, as she was able to speak clearly and loudly as a response to my attempt to awake her. Knowing how much my wife enjoys music, I decided to sing a made-up song to her until she arose from bed to begin her day. Her bold, clearly articulated response of, “SHUT UP!” made me question if all my years in choir were a waste of time.

“Did she really just shout at me to shut up?” I asked myself in disbelief. We are not a couple that yells at one another, so clearly I had stumbled upon the least preferred method of waking Sera up so far. And how is it possible for her to so clearly speak those words in the morning, yet “I love you” still comes out completely mumbled? Something did not seem correct.

When my wife did arise, her apology came swift, and I was happy to forgive her and move on. It wasn’t even until this evening where she recalled what had happened and apologized for a second time, now much more coherent of her bold response to my morning wake-up call.

When I asked Sera how she’d prefer I wake her up, she had no suggestions. Perhaps there is no preferred method because her preference is simply to remain sleeping until she decides to wake up. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option when we have jobs to get to most mornings. With my luck, this pattern will continue until we retire. I fear I should be expecting many more proclamations of “SHUT UP!” in the morning unless I do find an easy way to wake up Sera. Thankfully, I’m sure there will be plenty of apologies coming as well. If and when I do find a solution, do know that I’ll write an update for you. I’m certain I’m not the only spouse working on this one.


Rochester resident Matt Knutson is the communications and events director for United Way of Olmsted County.