Move Into a Separate Bedroom, Make Your Marriage Better?


In numbers that appear to be steadily increasing, more American couples are deciding to sleep in separate bedrooms—claiming that this sleeping separation is having beneficial effects on their relationship. In addition to anecdotal reports from writers like Iris Krasnow, author of “The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes To Stay Married,” a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders confirms that more people are choosing separate bedrooms for a wide variety of reasons.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and give my own theory: It’s all about the sleep. I’m not saying that spouses are always to blame for a national epidemic of sleep deprivation, but learning how to synch your body’s sleep schedule with that of another human being is never an easy proposition—no matter how long you’ve been together. Snoring, farting, stomach growling, television watching, fighting over the covers, fighting over the room temperature—my God, it’s a wonder anybody ever falls asleep. When the only person you have to worry about in finding a deep peaceful sleep is yourself, deep peaceful sleep is probably going to be a lot more likely to find its way into your bed.

Of course a lot of guys are going to wonder if other things are also going to find their way into the bed if the wife is off somewhere down the hall. Things like intimacy. To the guy way of thinking, marital intimacy is hard enough to come by if she’s lying right there in the bed next to you. How are we supposed to negotiate the question of her mood and availability when we can’t even see her—can’t judge whether something may be happening by what she wore to bed, can’t stare at the furrows in her brow to get some sign of her kindliness toward your approach, can’t see how warmly she smiles at you when she slides under the covers. In other words, how, how, how?

But for my answer to the question of how, I ask you to harken back to those early relationship days—the ones when you actually lived in separate homes. Somehow, you found ways to make intimacy happen without the proximity of the marital bed. In most cases, you made it happen a lot. You flirted, you courted, you seduced, you enticed. You put work into the management of intimacy because work was required. Nothing could be taken for granted. If you didn’t put in the work, you got no play.

Back to the separate bedrooms. You see where I’m going here? When we are lying our heads down in separate parts of the house, no longer is intimacy taken for granted. To make it happen, you once again have to flirt, to seduce, to entice. You have to put in work.

Hmmm. This is starting to sound more interesting. At first I was thoroughly skeptical, but I’m starting to see things more clearly.

I could see how this could work: Sleep in separate bedrooms, get more sleep and have more (and better) sex?

The guest bedroom has never looked so enticing.

(Now don’t ask me how in the world you’re supposed to explain this to the kids.)


1. Ask Wifey Q&A: How Do I Get My Man To Ramp Up Valentine’s Day Romance?
2. He Wants It, She’s Too Tired To Give It: The Sex Lives Of Married Folk Bali-Style.
3. Researchers: Love Can Improve Your Health and Soften Your Pain

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

One Comment

  1. Ok, the part about snoring, farting, and cover fighting? So funny and so true!!! You may be onto something with this one, Nick!

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