Saturday, March 10, 2007

Your Room Or Mine?: Spouse's Sleeping Separate II

The New York Times has this article: To Have, Hold, and Cherish Until Bedtime. It's about spouses having separate bedrooms.

In a survey in February by the National Association of Home Builders, builders and architects predicted that more than 60 percent of custom houses would have dual master bedrooms by 2015, according to Gopal Ahluwalia, staff vice president of research at the builders association. Some builders say more than a quarter of their new projects already do.
Evidently a lot of people are embarrassed:
Not everyone wants to talk about it. Many architects and designers say their clients believe there is still a stigma to sleeping separately. Some developers say it is a delicate issue and call the other bedroom a “flex suite” for when the in-laws visit or the children come home from college. Charles Brandt, an interior designer in St. Louis, said, “The builder knows, the architect knows, the cabinet maker knows, but it’s not something they like to advertise because right away people will think something is wrong” with the marriage.
I talked about this phenomenon before (another case of the NYT's being slow on the uptake). Here's what I said:
Along the same lines of sentimentality, who decided that it was a good idea for married couples to share a bedroom, a bed and a bathroom? I mean, isn't enough that one must live F-O-R-E-V-E-R with the same person, watch them grow old and pretend not to see said person clipping his or her toenails for eternity?
And this, too, seems timely:
Separate sleeping, dressing and hygiene quarters solves soooo many problems. You want your laundry done? Do it. You want a clean bathroom? Clean it. You want to stay up 'til 2 a.m.? Fine, disrupt your own sleep. You want to fart a blue streak? You smell it.

So many romantics (most with secretly crappy marriages, I'll venture to guess) will wax elephant about cuddling, snuggling, and intimacy. Pish posh! Canoodling ends precisely two minutes after the dirty deed is done and lasts for two minutes before the hubby "feels out" if "it" is going to happen. If it's a negatory, guess what? All coziness ends and snoring commences.

Conjugal visits can be arranged. Conversational interludes can be scheduled into Blackberries.

In the olden days, marriage was a contract that included fidiciary duty and conjugal dues. Friendship was a plus. Companionship a bonus. Love a blessing.

And even if you had all that, you still didn't have to share your bed without an invitation, your bedroom without a knock on the door, and good heavens...never your bathroom.

Futurist Faith Popcorn predicted "nesting" (staying in instead of going out), I predict married couples cohabitating independently. (And happier, too.)
There's more in my post, if you're interested. Here's the NYT's conclusion:
The Peppers agree: separate bedrooms have added spice to their relationship. “It’s more exciting,” Mrs. Pepper said, “when you can say: ‘Your room or mine?’ ”
I have recommended that patients use a spare bedroom to sleep separately. It is inhumane to not sleep for years because a spouse snores and have one's health decline because of it. I think that the old taboos surrounding this issue will evaporate as more and more couples continue their sleeping separately due to babies, or health, or snoring, or just wanting their own space after a busy day.

Will this trend cut into marital cohesion or will it help? I think it depends on the couple, but it sure sounds good to me. (I'm just imaging how I'd decorate my own suite, right now.) Sweet!


Christy're said...

My husband has been snoring this past year and I wear earplugs. The act of sleeping next to him, snuggling (all night--not the "two minutes" suggested by the author), and waking up with him every morning is incredibly important to our emotional health as a couple. When one of us stays up much later than the other or is otherwise not present, it's a problem for us.

I do not think it is for everybody per se but I think it's a good way to keep trust going in a marriage. Sometimes words are unnecessary and routine--or ritual--together is enough to reinforce the importance of the relationship. The old talk about "the marriage bed" as a sacred space for two people within a marriage is definitely true for us.

And I don't know who clips his toes in the bedroom. Just because one sleeps alongside his/her spouse doesn't mean the minute details of grooming are done out in the open. We keep our bathroom time separate but spend our bedroom time together. That article has a false assumption that couples who sleep together no longer bother to keep the magic alive. Perhaps that's the author's experience but I don't think it's the norm.

Although I must admit that once we have our baby I'm sure my hubby will retreat to the spare bedroom for a few nights mid-week until the baby is big enough to go in the crib in the nursery! A good night's sleep is important to get once in awhile.

Melissa Clouthier said...


When the third kid, out of love for my husband, I slept separately. Poor guy needed rest to work.

I don't think a good marriage is as simple as sleeping together or apart. Many, many people sleep apart as they age for a myriad reasons. Quite a few of them loving!

Sleeping separately is definitely a trend, though. One that's bound to continue for the reasons mentioned in the article. I just think most people will be too ashamed to admit it.:)

Christy're said...

I agree--it's not for everyone. My parents each have a lot of sleeping problems due to health so they'll sleep apart sometimes. However, I think sleeping apart can be a side effect of a more troubling trend--living entirely separate lives from spouses. And that's not healthy for a marriage at all.

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