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Is it Okay to Sleep in Separate Bedrooms? How to Stay Intimate if You Can't Sleep Together

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for a marriage post and link-up party!

My husband occasionally snores.

He doesn’t do it all the time, but after he’s been on call for a night and hasn’t slept well, the next night he’s likely to snore LOUDLY. When he’s extra exhausted, he makes me extra exhausted.

To top it all off, I’m a real-life example of the Princess and the Pea. I cannot sleep if there is any noise whatsoever. Not even a fan for white noise. If I’m in a hotel room I have to turn off the heater or the air conditioner at night because of the sound.

Sleeping in Separate Bedrooms--The Princess and the Pea problem

I use ear plugs almost every night, but it doesn’t help.

And so, once a month or so, when he’s really snoring, I’ll give up and head to the guest room.

Last week Lori Alexander, on her blog Always Learning, said this:

Many couples as they get older and the children are all gone, move into separate bedrooms for a variety of reasons. I sleep in another bedroom on occasion. When my neck flares up and I have a very hard time sleeping, I need a room to myself. When Ken gets up early for a business trip and I don’t want to be awakened at 4:00 a.m., I will sleep in another bedroom.

Then she asked what other people thing.

Are separate bedrooms okay?

My gut reaction is that it should be a last resort or something occasional, if possible. There is a closeness to going to bed together and to being able to reach out and touch someone in the middle of the night. But at the same time, if I were married to someone who needed a CPAP for apnea, there’s no way I could actually sleep if I were beside him. I don’t think I’d have a choice.

So how do you make separate bedrooms work?

1. If possible, sleep together, not in separate rooms

If you only need separate bedrooms when you’re in pain, or when someone’s snoring a lot, or when someone’s schedule is occasionally nuts, then in general start in the same room and only move when you have to. (I know that may not be possible if the snoring is always really bad; having to get up every night at midnight and move is really a pain, and can easily make us resentful. I have heard good things about this mouth device, but I know for many this is a real issue).

2. Keep your things together in one room

I still think having one room that is “your bedroom” and then one room that is the guest room where you retreat if you have to is healthier than having totally separate bedrooms, with your clothes all separate and everything. Keith and I occasionally take turns about who gets kicked out into the guest room, because both of us would rather sleep in “our” bed. And so keep your bed and your bedroom, and then take turns maybe going to the other room.

That way there’s still a place where you cuddle, where you make love, where you talk, and where you do feel that connection.

3. Try, as much as possible, to retire together and only then separate to different rooms.

If you do need to sleep apart every night, can you at least retire at the same time and lie in one bed together to talk, or make love, or pray? Then if one person needs to go, you can, but at least you’ve had that together time. Read a devotional together; read a novel out loud together; read a psalm together. Just be peaceful at the end of the day together.

My concern is just that I think you lose some intimacy if you don’t get that lying down time together. To say, “we’ll still make love” is fine and dandy, but there’s more to feeling close than just making love. There’s also just lying there while you talk. So I don’t think it’s good to lose that.

Those are my thoughts; they’re not hard and fast rules. But I’m curious what problems you all have with sleeping. Do any of you have trouble sleeping in the same room as your husband? What do you do? And what do you think about sleeping separately? Let me know!

Now, do you have any marriage thoughts for us today? Just link up a marriage post in the linky tools below! And be sure to link back here so others can read some great marriage advice, too!

Christian Marriage Advice

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