Recent studies show that more and more couples are sleeping in separate beds, and even in separate bedrooms. Numerous reports claim that 1 in 4 couples have taken up this habit and the National Association of Homebuilders predicts that by 2015 60% of new luxury homes will be built with more than one “master bedroom” to accommodate this growing trend. When this topic was discussed on a recent Oprah Winfrey show, Dr. Phil didn’t mince words as to what he thought of this trend.
“If people are building homes with two master bedrooms, a village somewhere is missing an idiot” chimed in Dr. Phil on an Oprah Winfrey “Are You Normal?” show that aired on October 1, 2010. There are many legitimate reasons that have couples who claim to be “happily married” to separate beds and even separate rooms. Some couples just simply find it hard to get a good night’s rest sharing their bed with a partner who snores, moves around too much, gets up frequently to use the bathroom, enjoys a mattress of a different firmness, talks in their sleep, wants to sleep in a different temperature on or just basically hogs the covers. Add to this the strain of having babies who wake up needing to be fed, children who crawl in bed after a bad dream and it is little wonder many couples crave a little space and sanctuary of their own.
However, sleeping in separate rooms can be a bad habit for couples to fall into, slowly damaging the special bond between husband and life. Dr. Phil pointed out that the intimacy that comes from talking in bed late at night and early in the morning with your spouse is one of the things that are exclusive to a marriage and distinguishes it from other relationships in our lives.
So have you and your spouse fallen into this bad habit of separate bedrooms? Is it a convenience, or a sign of problems? There’s a difference between sleeping in the spare room when you have a cold and are coughing all night (that’s being considerate) and making the decision to take up separate sleeping areas on a permanent basis.
From personal experience, I can tell you that permanently separating sleeping areas with your spouse is not a positive habit for the overall health of your marriage. While different sleep schedules and sleep preferences led to a more and more regular habit of “just sleeping in the other room”, before my husband and I realized it the habit had turned into a permanent solution. In retrospect, the separate room decision did mark the beginning of the overall eroding of intimacy in our relationship, even if we didn’t realize it at the time. I wouldn’t say it was the cause of the end of our 20-year marriage, but it certainly didn’t help and was a symptom of larger problems that we were reluctant to address.
Have you fallen into the bad habit of sleeping in separate rooms? Are their issues on your marriage that you are reluctant to address? It’s never too late to give your marriage a “tune up” and develop more healthy and loving habits. Even if your spouse is not interested in working at making your marriage better, you can make an amazing difference to the quality of your marriage if you know how.