Friday, April 24, 2009

Banished to the Couch...Kind of

Melissa and I haven’t slept in the same room, let alone bed, for almost a year now.

Now, before you get all bent out of shape thinking that I did something horribly wrong and got grounded to the couch for an extended period of time, let me explain.

Melissa is an insanely light sleeper…anything and everything wakes her up. On top of that, she can’t wear ear plugs because she gets ear infections.

I, on the other hand, am a very deep sleeper and do everything known to man in my sleep: talk, snore, breathe loud, fart, toss and turn, steal the covers and violently convulse…and I’m sure I’m leaving something out.

One night, Melissa was startled awake and when she opened her groggy eyes, she saw a black figure at the foot of the bed. After a second she realized the black figure was poking her in the leg and was a little weirded out. Eventually she realized that it was me and she asked me what the heck I was doing. I expressed in a cheerful voice, “I’m looking for you.” She told me to knock it off and go back to bed and I did. I don’t remember ever doing that…

On the flip side, one evening wasn’t as funny. I was muttering in my sleep and keeping Melissa awake so she tried to wake me up. I snapped at her and told her that I wasn’t muttering and got pissed at her for waking me up. She, realizing I was actually still asleep, tried to tell me to wake up. I snapped at her again that I was awake. This proceeded a few more turns until I glared at her and yelled for her to leave me alone and stop telling me that I was asleep.

At this point, fearing for her life, Melissa grabbed a blanket, our dauschund and her cell phone and went out to the couch. She dialed the numbers 9-1-1 into her phone and set it on the table in front of her and sat, cuddling with our dog, watching the bedroom door until she fell asleep.

When I woke up in the morning, I went out into the living room, stretched and gave Melissa a big kiss and expressed, “I slept so well last night. How did you sleep?” Turns out Melissa was right…I had been asleep. I don’t remember that either.

Because of our complete opposite sleeping patterns, we bought five mattresses before our third anniversary. We went from a full to a queen to a king sized Bob-o-pedic to two twins. When we got the twins they were next to each other, then across the room from one another and then in totally separate rooms.

On top of that, we have tried running an air purifier, wearing nose strips and I even got surgery on my nose…which didn’t work and was a waste of $250.

So, it’s almost been a year since we slept in the same room.

Why do I share this with you all? I think there are two things that we have learned about marriage from this process.

First, before we got to the point where we decided to sleep in different rooms, we were really embarrassed about the possibility. We thought it was a sign that our marriage was going to fall apart and expressed that it couldn’t be healthy. We finally ended up just talking to someone in our church about it who told us that her brother and his wife had to do the same thing. And then we heard pretty much the same thing from someone else. And then someone else.

Why is it that when we face issues within marriage, the first reaction is often “we are so messed up.” We tend to look at a lot of issues as unique to our own marriage and assume no one else struggles with it. From what Melissa and I have found, this couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the best things that you can do for your marriage is to be open and honest about your struggles because you are not alone in them. When you can learn to talk to others you will quickly find hope and encouragement that make the issues not such a big deal anymore.

Second, as good as it is to prepare for marriage with pre-marital counseling, reading books and going to seminars, I think there will always be a handful of things that you just can’t prepare to deal with. There will always be surprises in life. If someone had asked Melissa and I to make a list of the top 10 things we would struggle with when we got married, I doubt that sleeping would have even made the list. It might not have made the top 20…

Marriage though is about perseverance and sticking things out. You can’t escape ever getting thrown curveballs in life, so it’s better to stop running away from them and instead figure out how to hit them out of the park.

Does sleeping in separate rooms suck? Yea! Is it frustrating and does it create tension at times? Sure! But does it hurt our marriage, no…in a lot of ways it has helped our marriage tremendously because Melissa sleeps now at night. We’ve had to learn that it is just one of those things in life that is what it is.

What things are you struggling with right now?

Is there anything that you feel like you and your spouse are the only ones struggling with it?

We encourage you to post your comments her or find some friends to talk to. We guarantee you, you aren’t alone.



  1. joe & I had a few of the same issues with sleeping. I am a super-light sleeper and toss and turn throughout the night. I also like to read an hour before I fall asleep which creates disturbances for him. He wants the lights off at 9:30pm. Who goes to sleep that early?

    It is still one of the most annoying quirks in our marriage.

  2. honestly its like you have been living in my house for my entire marriage. this same exact thing has been going on for about 2 years now. he sleeps on the couch and i get the bed, which by the way is no prize. it was even worse when i was pregnant and irritable.
    i too thought that there was something wrong in my marriage and i thought for the longest time that because i wasent sleeping in the same bed that i was never ever going to be intimate and that my marriage would eventually dissolve. it didnt. in fact i got pregnant and i got tons of sleep. :)

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
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2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.