A friend of mine and his wife have separate bedrooms. After a six week business trip, he arrived home to a wife who had never slept better in her life. Since the guest room wasn’t being used, she proposed that he make it his bedroom and allow them to sleep apart each night.
He agreed. He reports that the arrangement has worked wonders, and more than six years later, their marriage has never been stronger.
Holly Allen writes in Slate about her desire for separate beds. After fleeing to the guest room to escape her husband’s illness, she, too, had the best night of sleep in her life.
Allen has no desire for a separate bedroom. Just separate beds, so she can spread out and sleep comfortably without the nightly pokes, prods, battles for covers, and other intrusions to her slumber.
Despite her desire, Allen has not yet forged ahead and traded in her king sized bed for two twin beds. Why?
Society! Mention separate beds today and most people assume marital troubles.
I suspect that Allen’s problem is not the need for a good night’s sleep but something far deeper.
The concern over what other people will think of her sleeping arrangements is fairly juvenile. While there are times when people are reasonably concerned about the opinions of others, the composition of your bedroom furniture should not be one of them,
The thought that people will even concern themselves with your sleeping arrangements is also fairly juvenile. I was surprised when my friend told me about his separate bedrooms, but that surprise lasted about two minutes. Then I didn’t give his sleeping arrangements another thought.
I wasn’t worried about the strength of his marriage.
I didn’t question the intimacy that he shared with his wife.
I didn’t wonder if their marital bond was deteriorating because of their newfound arrangement.
Even if I did, why would he care? Even if I assumed that he and his wife were experiencing marital troubles, why would my concern over his marriage force him to continue living life uncomfortably?
Think about it: Holly Allen is living her life uncomfortably in order to ensure that society thinks that she and her husband are happily married.
That is insane.
Allen goes on to explain that chronic bad sleep, has been shown to increase the likelihood of stroke, heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. It also contributes to or exacerbates psychiatric problems like anxiety, depression, and attention deficient hyperactivity disorder.
Why must we risk these things just to prove to ourselves that we are happy couples?
We don’t, Holly Allen. All we have to do is stop worrying about what other people think about our bedroom furniture and make a change.
When Allen finally proposes the changes to her husband, she admits to feeling a little hurt when he agrees.
There are clearly issues here far beyond the need for a decent night’s sleep.