In our culture, we expect married couples to sleep together. Yet, many spouses find it easier to sleep in separate rooms, either due to health problems (such as snoring or insomnia), combating work schedules or because they prefer the extra leg space.
Roughly 40 percent of married couples sleep in separate rooms. But are these spouses missing out on an essential part of marriage? Or, alternatively, are they helping their relationship by allowing each other to sleep without succumbing to the threat of a 3am elbow or the face-melting scent of morning breath?
It's a tough call. That's why we reached out to two marriage counselors for their take on the matter. Each provided strong cases for both sides of the argument.
Yes, it will
“I believe it is an important part of any intimate relationship in which a couple lives together that the two people find a way to sleep together regardless of sleep issues such as sleep apnea or other such problems that one or both people may have. When a couple stops sleeping together, a distance is created between the two that occurs naturally within the relationship. This may occur without either person realizing it at first, but it can grow and put a strain on the relationship and the bond between both partners.
Most people spend the majority of their day apart, working or involved in other daily activities. Time in the bedroom together is a special time of every day where a couple can relax, spend quality time and bond with one another. Without this, an important part of any intimate relationship is greatly damaged.”
-Bill Golden, licensed professional counselor based in Philadelphia, P.A.
No, it won't
“I have been frequently spending time with couples telling them they’re too charged to this notion that they should be sleeping in the same bed. Sleep is really important, and it’s not uncommon that eventually couples will decide they don’t necessarily need to sleep in the same bed. Sometimes, you have one who gets up really early, and the other one’s a night owl, so then you need to let that person get up early, and let the other be a night owl. When you’re taking care of individual needs that way, you can bring more of yourself to the relationship. It doesn’t need to be a strain on the sex life either; you just make plans for that.
Sure, there’s something lovely about knowing that you’re going to go to bed laying down next to your love every night and waking up to your love every morning. But I think the key thing is being able to talk honestly about what the different sets of needs are and how to take care of them.”
-Julie Blair Carter, marriage and family therapist based in Beverly Hills, C.A.