Do You & Your Spouse Share the Same Bed? If Not, You Should
The first time my husband and I shared a bed I had visions of us with arms and legs intertwined for the bulk of the night, sleeping blissfully content in each others love. Unfortunately my husband had a very different attitude in regards to exactly how we would be sharing our marital bed. While he was all for getting busy in the biblical sense in our boudoir, physically sleeping together was an entirely different scenario. My husband had strict guidelines as to how we would share said bed; he needed to sleep on the right side, he needed to have separate comforters and we were not allowed to venture into one anothers private bed space once we closed our eyes. Of course the occasional cuddle was permitted, but when we first were married and he was on-call dialyzing patients at all hours of the night- he convinced me that a good night's sleep was of the essence, and that if I "laid all up on him while he was trying to get his snooze on- well it was just too sticky, uncomfortable and distracting."
Wanting to be a good wife, I acquiesced and after we said our proper good nights and I love yous for the past 13 years he has retreated to his side of the bed and I have to mine.
I guess things could be worse-- I mean at least we are sleeping in the same bed and the truth is there have been many a night when I just needed to feel him beside me and I've "crossed this imaginary line" and hugged him and, thankfully, he has relaxed his strict no touching after lights out rules just a bit. Put it this way- I haven't been kicked out of the bed yet, and just knowing he's there right beside me, well it's just plain comforting. By the way I figure he owes me a compromise or two considering that I've been relegated to listening to sports talk radio every night as its the only way my husband can float off to dreamland, but the alternative of not having him in the bed with me, well I think I would miss it. In fact just a few nights ago, I was up at 2:30 am after having an awful nightmare about my dad who passed away several months ago- and I couldn't stop shaking. I woke up my husband and he literally rocked me back to sleep, of course shortly thereafter, we drew that imaginary line on the bed again.
Still this has all got me to thinking-being that my husband needs so much space in our bed and that he's not comfortable with snuggling with me all night and normally says," if you need to snuggle that badly I'll buy you a teddy bear," perhaps getting separate beds might not be such a bad thing in the grand scheme of things. But according to Christina Steinorth, Psychotherapist and Author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships it is imperative that couples sleep in the same bed.
"I am a huge advocate for married couples sleeping in the same bed (of course, unless there's a medical issue that would not make this a good option).
In today's world, as couples, we tend to pretty much lead separate lives--we have separate careers, different friends, quite often, different schedules...sleeping together is a way for married couples to connect on a regular basis," notes Ms. Steinorth. "An interesting fact that many people don't know is that studies show that men in particular feel closer to their wives when they sleep together. So for men, not sleeping with a spouse can really speed up feelings of disconnect toward their wives."
According to Ms. Steinorth, we spend about a third of our lives (eight hours a day) asleep. When we sleep with our spouses, this lets us spend an extra eight hours a day with them, that's a lot of one-on-one time. It helps build intimacy because you're sharing a very private experience-it's an added opportunity to touch base, have an uninterrupted conversation, and keep tabs on the health of your relationship. Probably the most important con though, in Ms. Steinorth's opinion, is that if there is a problem in your marriage, not sleeping in the same bed as your spouse makes it all that much easier to avoid each other and continue to push your problems aside. When you sleep together, you have to interact with one another--although it may be a passive interaction, it's still an interaction and not an avoidance, which can be a crucial step toward solving marital problems.
The bottom line: Connecting on a regular basis is absolutely essential to prevent growing apart--which can happen much faster than most people realize. Even though after some years couples may not cuddle as much as they used to when sleeping together, there is still something very intimate about sharing your bed with your spouse...it's a bonding experience.
So what's your sleep situation- separate beds or one big marital bed?