Once upon a time there was a man and a woman, who decided to become the husband and the wife. They wanted to be sensible. They wanted to continue to respect each other. Each wanted to preserve his and her privacy. They weren’t quite sure how to do this, and they didn’t want to resort to the so-called wisdom of their elders. Clearly it had not served the elders well. The husband and the wife wanted to reinvent the world of marriage.
“What would really be nice,” she said, “would be to have adjoining rooms, like in a hotel, where we each have a door between us. If we want to see each other, we can just open our door.”
“Sometimes I might have my door shut, but yours would be open. Sometimes you might have your door shut, but mine would be open.”
“Sometimes they might both be shut.”
“And when they’re both open, we want to be together,” he said.
“We should buy a duplex and set it up that way.”
“Brilliant,” she said.
And so they did.
One night the husband was missing the wife. He went to open his door, but hers was shut. He left his door open until he went to sleep.
The next morning the wife was missing the husband. She went to open her door, but his was shut. She left her door open until she left for work.
And so it went.
Each one was feeling shut out by the other.
After a while, the wife went to knock on the husband’s front door. “It’s odd, but I don’t think this is working.”
“I agree,” the husband said.
“I have a new plan.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Why don’t we keep the doors between open all the time, unless we really, really need to be by ourselves.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
It turned out that each only needed to shut his or her door between four or five times a year. They were proud of their creative arrangement.
And so they lived together ever after.