Written by Leslie Pelon
“I was ready to kick him to his own room until we stopped sharing a blanket!” she said and everyone laughed like they knew exactly what she was talking about. For me, her comment was like being hit over the head with a shovel. I stood in that church parking lot surrounded by friends and my jaw hit the floor. After six years of marriage I had finally learned I wasn’t alone. I was not the only one for whom sharing a bed with another person was challenging!
You are probably all laughing at me. I mean really, how many memes and cartoons are out there about a bed hogging spouse? How many jokes have been made on sitcoms about snorers and snugglers? Honestly I should have entered marriage expecting an adjustment, but I didn’t. I had this Hollywood picture in my head of spending every night getting frisky with my husband and then falling asleep in each other’s arms and staying there the entire night. No one’s arm would fall asleep. No one would get overheated. No one would roll over in their sleep and push the other person out of bed. We would spend every night of our marriage in the perfect sleep world. Much to my chagrin after only two weeks of marriage my husband rolled me out of bed in the middle of the night and I ended up at the student health center with a sprained wrist, thus ending my dreams of night time bliss.
Even after realizing that my vision of bed sharing was not 100% accurate, I still thought we must be the exception. I assumed most other people were perfectly happy and never struggled. That is until I had the above conversation with some friends. All the sudden it hit me, “This is a problem for a lot of people!”
So I went home and wrote up a survey about the sleep habits of married couples and shared it on my Facebook wall. Long story short, 4,515 responses later I have learned that almost every single couple has some sort of bedroom conflict, and somehow that made me feel so much better about my life. Maybe the old adage is true, misery really does love company. This article is the first of a four-part series that reviews different aspects of the survey and how the results can help each of us better nurture our marriages.
According to my, granted not very scientific, study at least 44% of married couples require at least some time to adjust to sharing a bed with their spouse.
I thought it was fascinating that so many people had taken a while to get used to sharing a bed with another person.
The group that fascinated me was the “I’m still not used to it group”. I assumed that most of them must be newlyweds, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. While those who had been married less than a year did make up the largest group they were less than half of those who said they still struggled with sharing a bed with their spouse.
I also found it interesting that wives were only slightly more likely to need time to get used to sharing a bed than their husbands.
The 2.5% in the “Other” section were fun, many of them filling out fun responses. Some brought on a chuckle and some gave advice and insight into how to work through sleep issues in a relationship:
“I’m used to it, but occasionally subconsciously I shy away from cuddling." - Wife married 1-5 years
“Couldn’t wait to.” - Husband married 10-20 years
“We do not share a bed. Sleep separate.” - Wife married 1-5 years
“It took about a week but now we bed share with an almost one year old who likes to kick in her sleep." - Wife married 1-5 years.
“3 months - basically until we switched to a king.” – Husband married less than a year
“Took about a year after we were married but about 10 years later his snoring habits and shifting in his sleep were so bad that I rarely have a good night's sleep.” - Wife married 20+ years
“Don’t remember.” - Husband married 20+ years
“Depends on the night. He sleep walks and talks so those are hard nights.” - Wife married 5-10 years
“I got 'used to' sleeping with my wife in perhaps four weeks. However, in some ways I am still not used to it after 30 years. We have a Queen sized bed per my wife. I would prefer a King sized. I constantly feel crowded. I often tell my wife that I would prefer to sleep by myself on the much smaller twin-sized bed in the spare room.” - Husband married 20+ years
“Honestly I didn’t think about it like that. It was fun for us. I love snuggles so I made him snuggle me. And he got to grab my butt whenever he wanted.” - Wife married 1-5 years
“I was used to sleeping with other men.” - Wife married less than a year
“I got used to it right away but that doesn’t mean it’s always comfortable.” - Wife married 5-10 years
So what is the point of all this? Is it only so that we can revel in the fact we are not alone in our struggle or is there something to learn? Sleep is important and none of us are at our best when we are not getting it. It's important to make it a high priority that each of you are getting a good night's sleep, while maintaining intimacy in your marriage.
Realize you are not alone. You are not weird or failing as a couple because sharing a bed is something that does not come easy. Your nightly routine of “sleeping under separate blankets” (wife married 5-10 years) or moving “from bed to couch to floor every hour throughout the night” (wife married 20+ years) is not that odd! So own it. Talk about it together. Voice concerns with love and experiment. And if you have to pull a Lucy and Ricky and have separate beds to keep the peace, you should rest easy knowing that isn’t that odd either.
Check back soon for our next segment in the series, “Whose turn is it to make the bed?”
Wedding picture photo credit: Crooze Photography
“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”
- Fawn Weaver
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