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  • A bedroom at around 9pm. It's quiet, save for the rustle of the leaves in the garden outside.

  • We're side by side, each absorbed in a different world.

  • One of us might be in a submarine beneath the arctic ice floe, the other is flitting through the salons of 18th-century Paris.

  • Every so often our toes touch momentarily but without raising much notice.

  • We might briefly stretch a hand to touch the nape of the partner's neck before turning a page.

  • We can hear our partner very lightly breathing. There isblessedlyno need to say anything at all.

  • And so it goes, for what might be an hour or more. It's modest, comfortable and sweet.

  • And it is, of course, a pleasure that our society is almost congenitally prone not to notice or respect.

  • When we're invited to picture what a relationship might be for,

  • we imagine typically colourful scenarios: passionate sex up against a wall, a celebration of a triumph at work,

  • heading for the airport for a mini-break, the mutual exploration of one another's souls.

  • And yet when the true pleasures of long-term love are assessed, a rather different set of images emerges,

  • far less dramatic, but also far more real and in their own way gratifying:

  • the knowing sideways smile our partner gives us in the presence of a parent who has been tricky with us in the past,

  • or watching a TV drama episode by episode and bantering about the characters and plotlines,

  • or sitting on the floor sorting the socks after the wash,

  • the chat we have after the friends who came for lunch have departed,

  • or assembling a flat pack bookcase and realizing we've both got the instructions entirely wrong

  • and that it's almost rather funny.

  • It's within such a list of hidden pleasures that we find the joy of reading in bed together.

  • It represents in its own way a major psychological skill. There's not really anyone else we could do this with.

  • If the world were fairer,

  • we would seek partners not just who can perform spectacular sexual antics and look hot in a bar,

  • but also those with whom we could one day turn pages in silence.

  • To read together is symbolic of being able to share our true selves

  • without shame, embarrassment or the need to perform.

  • We are, as we lie in bed together, as we so seldom are in the rest of life, simply accepted.

  • Long-term relationships are, inevitably, deeply complicated enterprises.

  • Two ambitious, independent authentic people cannot hope to join their lives together without a huge amount of friction and pain.

  • We tend to be so much aware of the troubles,

  • we sometimes take the peaceable moments for granted,

  • failing to appreciate their underlying achievement.

  • It may lack glamour, but being able to read in bed together with someone is a major milestone; and a sign of deep affection.

  • We may be doing better than we think.

  • We hope you enjoyed this film.

  • For more from The School of Life, you can subscribe to our channel and take a look at our range of products on our website.

A bedroom at around 9pm. It's quiet, save for the rustle of the leaves in the garden outside.

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B1 UK bed partner long term perform pleasure term

The Pleasure of Reading in Bed Together

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    Samuel posted on 2018/01/19
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