Wifey Wednesday: Separate Bedrooms?

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!

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Comments

  1. When I was pregnant, our bed was so uncomfortable, I could only sleep on the sofa, but I always started out in bed with hubby and returned to him in the morning. If the baby is fussy, I co sleep on the sofa (I know how to do it safely.). When I am sick…sofa. when hubby is sick…I am on the sofa. Otherwise, we both prefer that I sleep with him. It is a closeness that is very important to hubby. We also only have a full size bed. Hubby hates the king size beds at hotels because I have a chance of “getting away” from him. He likes to sleep cuddled or at least touching. I like to cuddle and touch before, but when I am ready.for dream land, I like being on my own more, so in hotels, I’ll “escape” to the edge of the king bed and hubby spends the night subconciously looking for me! Lol!

    • Hubby hates the king size beds at hotels because I have a chance of “getting away” from him.

      LOL! Well maybe he would be okay with a Queen as a compromise? My hubby and I started out our marriage with a full sized bed, and moved up to a queen right before our 3rd child was born. MUCH better. ;-)

      I have to say…I’m a co-sleeping advocate. I’m expecting my 6th child, and none of my kids have ever used a crib. Until they are around a year old they sleep either in bed with my hubby and me, or in an Arms Reach Cosleeper attached to the bed. So please take my following comment in that context…

      It is IMPOSSIBLE to safely cosleep on a couch when you are alone at night. I think every baby “needs” to have a picture of laying on daddy’s chest on a couch in the middle of the afternoon–that is safe because there are people around who are awake and can monitor things while daddy is asleep. But at night alone? The couch cushions are too soft and squishy…it is way too easy for baby to end up face down and get smothered. So unless you are pulling out a hide-a-bed sofa…there isn’t any way for you to safely cosleep alone at night on the couch.

      • Thank you, I understand your concern. This is my 4th child I have co slept on the sofa with. I lay on the sofa with my back diagonally propped against the back of the sofa. Baby lays snuggled against my side, face up, in the crook of my arm, head on my shoulder above my arm pit. In this position, neither of us can budge while asleep. My current baby rarely likes to co sleep so this Isn’t an issue. I’ve had scarier situations while co sleeping in bed. A queen size would be nice, but our bedroom is only 7 feet by 9 feet.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. My gut feeling is also that husbands and wives should sleep in the same bed at the same time if possible. I have made sacrifices to try to make this happen, like staying up really late to see my husband come home from work. However, we have seven kids, the younger two of whom sleep with us because of circumstances that were created beyond our control (we lived with my parents for a year in three bedroomS that made it necessary for lots of people sleeping together And on the floor in mAny cases), so that now they are just used to being with us. So my husband is known for getting up in the middle of the night to go to whatever bed is not being utilized at the time. He is a bit of a Princess and the Pea when it comes to sleep, which makes me a little nuts, but I’ve come to realize that while he can handle killing bugs and I can’t, he cant handle anything less than perfect sleeping conditions while I can. It’s a good thing God paired us up!

  3. Yeah, I would agree with you too. Situations involving sickness or bad snoring, I think it’s fine to occasionally sleep in separate bedrooms. My husband and I have a rule though that we’ll never sleep in separate bedrooms if we’re mad at each other and fighting. I think it just builds alienation between you.
    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives recently posted…A Rare Approach to DivorceMy Profile

  4. I do agree that husbands and wives should sleep in the same bed as much as possible, but yeah, we’re only human and sometimes the need for sleep is at the top of the proverbial totem pole. :-) Our second baby has had to sleep in our room until he’s sleeping long enough at night to room in with our 2 year old, and for quite a few weeks my husband would sleep on the sofa on work nights because he found himself almost falling asleep at the office if he slept in our room with me and the baby. While I prefer sleeping with him, I was fine with that because he provides for me to stay home with the kids and he needs to be rested in order to provide. He always came upstairs and “tucked me in” at bedtime – prayers, a few cuddles, goodnight kisses, etc. Now that the baby is sleeping through the night we’re in the same room all the time again.

    I once knew a sweet, affectionate older couple who I found out had slept in separate bedrooms for something like two decades because of the husband’s chronic snoring, but they’d made it work. They were so cute. :-)
    Melissa recently posted…I Appreciate…My Profile

  5. My husband’s snoring became increasingly louder until we had to sleep in separate rooms during certain seasons when he was congested. We hated it, but it was necessary because one snore could wake me from a dead sleep like a bolt of lightening. We tried to sleep together as much as possible trying various nose clips and flonase until finally he had surgery on his deviated septum and now we are back in the same bed full time. If snoring is a problem, I really recommend looking into possible medical reasons. The doctor said that my husband’s snoring was also affecting his sleep.
    Gail recently posted…Underground GraceMy Profile

  6. sorry, I have to add…my last sentence sounds like my husband’s snoring was affecting the doctor’s sleep (poorly written). It was affecting my husband’s ability to sleep deeply. : )

    • Ha ha… My husband’s snoring COULD have kept the doctor awake!

      He got serious about eating right and losing weight, though, and that greatly reduced his snoring.

  7. We have slept separately almost as much as we have slept together over the past 15 years. I enjoy my husband’s deployments because I can keep the room at just the right temperature and I don’t have to worry about him stealing the covers. But, those first few days back home often find me on the couch because I have become accustomed to sleeping alone and I don’t want to disturb his sleep by tossing and turning. He usually stumbles into the living room around 3am and brings me back to bed.

    I think that sleeping separately isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as the rest of your life does not fall into the pattern of being separate as well. This is something my husband & I have had difficulties with at times simply because of the length of deployments. When you spend 18 months of your marriage apart, it is easy to just go about your business and find what works when your spouse is gone. However, trying to incorporate him into your established routine is frustrating for both. We learned that we just needed a new routine.
    sheridan recently posted…Weekday WorshipMy Profile

    • My husband and I experienced the same- being together only about half of the time of our marriage for the first few years due to work ups and deployments. First deployment I couldn’t sleep well at all without him there (which is funny because we’d only been married and living together for 3 months before he deployed), and second deployment I slept great without him there! Now, with him changing shifts and sometimes working nights and sometimes working afternoons and not getting home until late at night, I find it is much easier to sleep without him there, but then if I’m waiting for him to get home or to come to bed, it’s really hard to fall asleep! I guess there’s just no happy medium! Routine was so important to helping me get through those deployments, but then losing my routine once he got home was almost as hard as dealing with him being away!

  8. I agree completely. Of course, there are people who have chronic problems that are so difficult they simply cannot sleep together. And there are times when an injury, illness, or other special circumstance may require sleeping apart temporarily. We all have the occasional snoring marathon or insomnia attack that may send one of us to the guest room or the couch for a night. But if it’s possible, married couples are better off sleeping together and waking up together. It’s a powerful way of being intimately connected.

  9. Actually, I have thought about this a lot. Not because I have particular issues sleeping with my hubby. In fact, we’re cuddlers, so we could probably share a single bed if we had to.

    However, I’ve thought about marital sleeping arrangements in terms of history. Our current standard of mom and dad sleeping in a bedroom together while the kids sleep elsewhere isn’t universally true throughout the ages. In fact, sometimes I’ve wondered if the Victorian days of his/hers sleeping chambers didn’t have some benefits (although that was only an option for richer families). There have been various approaches, and I believe that in all of those times some couples managed to have fabulous marriages.

    But what’s most conducive to intimacy? I have to agree with you, Sheila. Presence is big. You can’t discount the importance of being there in your marriage. Once you’re asleep, it may not matter much, but those moments before you fall asleep and when you wake up make a difference. The other morning, my husband woke up to me smiling at him, and he commented how wonderful that was. I thought so too.
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Rebuilding Trust in the BedroomMy Profile

  10. When I was young, my mother took me aside one day and explained to me that she and Dad were getting separate beds – two twin beds in the same room. She took great pains to inform me that they still loved each other and it was just much easier for them to have separate beds.

    As a child, I trusted what she said completely. After all, it made sense to me (my sister and I went from a double bed to two twins.) I now know that my mother had a lot of snoring issues (which I have inherited.)

    Over the years, Mom and Dad drited apart, and finally, after 51 years of marriage, were threatening to get a divorce. Personally, I don’t think separate beds was the catalyst, but your article got me thinking. I wonder if they had stayed in the same bed, would it have helped?

    I agree with you, Sheila. We need our sleep. But I would be very cautious before getting separate bedrooms. I think it’s best to keep one bedroom, and let one spouse sleep in the guest room on occaision. That way, you can keep some unity. And it will be harder to continue intimacy, but if the couple is willing to work at it, it will probably be alright.

    Lisa
    Lisa recently posted…Making the Leap into VictoryMy Profile

  11. I guess i am going to be the oddball here. My paternal grandparents had separate bedrooms for as long as I can remember, and my maternal grandparents had separate beds in the same room for as long as I can remember. Even as a small child, I didn’t understand. There have been times throughout our marriage when we have slept separately in the same house, but those times have been rare and were usually when we weren’t very close and intimate anyway. Now that our marriage has drastically turned for the better, I can’t imagine sleeping apart.. Even though he snores so terribly loud! One night when he was out of state, I realized I was so used to his snoring that I couldn’t sleep without it! lol I decided right then & there that no matter how bad his snoring was, it was better than him being gone, and I sleep so much better at night now despite his snoring! Personally, I’d rather learn to live with the snoring than learn to live/sleep without him.

  12. I agree with you, Sheila. I think private snuggle time is so important.

    On a practical note:
    My husband has great hearing and I can snore like a freight train. He wears ear plugs and I have a “snore guard” that my dentist made for me. Now we both get a good night’s sleep.
    Lori recently posted…Listening is a Good StartMy Profile

  13. My husband occasionally snores so loudly that he wakes himself up, but it is very rare that we sleep separately. I’m reminded of the video Sheila posted a few weeks ago, when I view this as one of hubby’s beautiful imperfections.
    Karen Blackburn recently posted…Another Year Passes!My Profile

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sleeping in the same bed used to be a big deal to me. A REALLY REALLY big deal. It epitomized all those feelings of closeness, unity, togetherness, etc. that I understood came with a committed relationship. Plus, I’m a very strong-willed woman, and this was the one time where I would let my defenses down and let myself feel protected. And I would openly proclaim how I never wanted to be one of those couples that slept in different beds. It was never tied to sex- as a childless couple that wasn’t hard to arrange :)

    Then night rotations came, and opposite sleep schedules. We still slept in the same bed…just at different times of day. That was obviously not the same. So, we sought out other times of day to seek out that same intimacy. We took more togetherness out of the time we had together- even if we were both just reading or on our computers, we were next to each other on the couch. And I would do dishes from the night before when he would come home and make breakfast for us. I let my guard down by letting him “protect” me by doing all of the driving when we went places together. And I came to realize that I liked all of our awake together time much better.

  15. My in-laws sleep in seperate beds all the time; he snores a lot and she has restless leg syndrome. I always though it was odd, but works. My mom is friends with a (christian) couple who were in the process of getting divorced and so they took up seperate bedrooms. Turned out that was all they needed. It literally saved their marriage and they went on to be a great team with a strong family heavily invloved in church and missions. I think for some people, it’s what you need. I guess if you can be close without sharing a room or at odds sharing one, not sharing is the thing to do.

  16. I cherish our time in bed to cuddle and what-not :). However, much later, during the middle of the night, my 9 year old girl ALWAYS sneaks into our bed and I generally don’t mind because she is a quiet sleeper. Occasionally my 12 year old girl also joins us because she too doesn’t like to sleep alone. Her body temperature is quite hot and she likes to sleep upside down and she kicks while she is sleeping. My husband is a deep sleeper and it doesn’t bother him. My 9 year old is used to sleeping with the 12 year old, so she is also okay.
    But…I find it is impossible to sleep like this. It is at this time that I leave and sleep on the couch in the basement. Our nights tend to be quite active with all the commotion. But, it works for us.
    Glenda de Vries recently posted…Jun 27, Motivation to Quit SmokingMy Profile

  17. My husband and I haven’t had an occasion where we had to sleep in separate bedrooms….except due to travel lol. I agree with you that separate bedrooms really should be a last resort ( due to illness e.t.c)

    Elizabeth of warrior wives has mentioned that they do not do separate bedrooms if they are mad with each other. I agree with that. The other bedroom can become a clutch, a way to avoid facing and resolving conflict.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…Discovering Purpose (and its Connection to Intentional Living)My Profile

  18. My husband’s snoring loudly when sleeping too. But I am already used to it’s loudness. hahaha. But I need to go and consult the doctor why he is snoring that loud… :)
    Candy recently posted…Cheap Car InsuranceMy Profile

  19. Heather P says:

    I try not to say much on here because of the difficulty in my almost 16 year marriage. However, this one hit me as one I needed to say something. I have a sleep disorder and that has not prevented giving up the same bed. When my husband threatens to leave the bed, I ask him not to because I like to have him next to me. Intimacy hasn’t happened in a while because of the “fight” that has been one-sided for just over two years. Sounds ridiculous, yes, but that is my life. Would be glad for any suggestions.

    • Heather P says:

      Thanks for letting me be open on this one!!

    • Hi Heather: Prayer is always the first line of defense. Sometimes, taking some quiet time out with God can really clear some things up for you. You may want to ask God to help you to see where the disconnect is and how it got started. Be bold with God and ask Him for wisdom on how you can lovingly reconnect with your husband. This may not be an overnight process. God does not always speak instantly, but He will speak if you’re willing to listen. I would also encourage you to find a Scripture to think on and repeat until it brings you comfort. One that has often brought me comfort is: Jeremiah 31:3 which says: “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
      Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” Often in marriage we tend to feel disconnected from our husbands. And this disconnection can cause us to feel unloved by our husbands. Even at times when I haven’t felt loved by my husband (although he does love me), I have had to pursue God and find comfort in knowing that He loves me. Hope this helps. :)

      Tiffany

      Tiffany Godfrey recently posted…Your Marriage: How Do You Keep It Spicy?My Profile

  20. It’s funny that you’re sharing this post, Sheila because my husband is just getting back into our bedroom. After having our second son a few months ago, the late night feedings put a lot of stress on him. It kept him up, so we would sleep separately and on weekends he would come into our bedroom for the night. It was tough for me because my love language is physical touch. But thank God my son is eating baby food, so he normally sleeps through the night now. With that being said, hubby is back in the bed with me. Gosh how I missed that man…
    Thank God that season is over!

    I think sleeping separately is a personal decision for a couple. It really depends on the situation. I do think it disrupts the intimacy and if constant communication is not involved, it could cause a major distance in the hearts of both the man and the woman.

    I agree with you, if for some reason you can’t sleep with your husband, find some time to connect. When we were in separate rooms, my husband would often spend about 15-20 minutes connecting with me before he went to sleep. That helped but of course it was nothing like sleeping in the same bedroom. :)
    Tiffany Godfrey recently posted…Your Marriage: How Do You Keep It Spicy?My Profile

  21. Getting married November 30 of this year and after waiting this long to sleep together there’s no way on earth I’m letting him out!! :P We’ve talked about it and hope to just form new routines if problems come up…I guess we shall see!

  22. I work first shift and my husband works second shift (therefore, there’s no real seeing each other except on weekends or his alternate days off). I get up at 5 a.m. and he comes to bed about 1 or 1:30 a.m. Occassionally he’ll sleep on the couch because his bad knee is bothering him and/or he doesn’t want to disturb me. I was a little sad about that until I learned another reason he occassionally sleeps on the couch – becuase when I get up, I’ll go to the couch, wake him and hug/kiss him before he goes to our bed and I get ready and leave for work — he just wants to actually see me rather than just knowing I’m laying in the dark bedroom next to him. Awww. I don’t feel sad about his sleeping on the couch occassionally any more. We have never slept separately because of any reason other than these (and rare separate travelling) and I praise the Lord for this!

  23. Sleeping in the same bed can be either very comforting, or absolute torture. When the spouse does not want any physical contact and removes your hand/arm when you touch, or even worse talks of love and then does not want any physical touch at all, separate beds, and even bedrooms is a relief
    uk Fred recently posted…Christian MarriageMy Profile

    • I have to agree with that. Touch is my primary love language and the rejection of my touching and the refusal on his part to touch me is torture. Right now finances insist that we can’t afford to buy a couple twi beds. However, I think it will happen sooner or later. I would MUCH rather sleep alone than have to sleep in the same bed with a man I love and want to touch but who refuses to be touched or to touch me. Its like the torture of the old days when they’d lock a prisoner in a cell with no water and put a bucket of water outside the bars just outside his reach- he could see it but couldn’t have it.

  24. My husband is a resident and wakes up at 3:45 every morning. It would be so easy to sleep in my guest room and still get my 8 hours in, but then I’d never see him or get to cuddle :( So, we still sleep together, and I get up with him every morning to make his breakfast and lunch. Occasionally, I’ll go back to sleep after he leaves, but I’ve found I’m more drowsy at work then if I just stay up, and get some chores done before going to work. Hopefully, after babies comes, and we grow old, I’ll still be happy to do what I do now.

    P.S. Sheila, I can totally relate to the snoring…. it only happens when he is post call…. luckily it’s still pretty soft, and kind of cute at this point. But I am sure it will get worse as we age.

  25. Remedy for snoring:tie or stich a tennis ball or two in the panty part of a pair of pantyhose and use the legs to tie it around your waist so the tennis balls are on your back, which makes it uncomfortable to be on your back. It can work, but I would rather my wife wear them along with a very few other pieces of apparel to seduce me.

  26. Nadine Engstrom says:

    My husband and I have been married for 41 years. We have separate “sleeping” rooms. It’s a must or I wouldn’t get any sleep and I would be cranky and resentful. Our relationship is better because of our separate sleeping rooms. My husband is retired and we are empty nesters.. When we were younger he worked the night shift and I worked the day shift. We rarely slept together. We have made it work. We still love each other, we flirt, etc !

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