I have a confession. I have my own bedroom. It’s glorious. And it saved my marriage.
My husband and I have VERY different styles of housekeeping, VERY different ideas of how to live in your personal space. I must have the sheets tucked in at the foot of the bed, he needs them untucked. I like my things organized in a very specific way, he throws everything around in piles. We both snore. Etc, etc.
I was going crazy trying to keep it clean and organized. He was stressed about making tidiness a priority, which is just not natural for him. Neither of us was sleeping well.
So we decided to try separate bedrooms. And the most wonderful things started happening.
First of all, both of us slept better. We each had the freedom to stretch out, toss and turn, snore, fart, get up to pee, whatever, without disturbing the other. The Herban Cowboy wakes in the wee hours occasionally, and he discovered that he’s now free to get up during those times and get some writing done, without fear of waking me. He can also get up earlier in the morning and get to work earlier, increasing his productivity there and leaving me to sleep until Little Boy wakes me.
We also have more sleeping options this way. When Little Boy has a bad dream, there’s plenty of room for him to crawl in with me. The Herban Cowboy and I like to sneak afternoon naps together. When someone comes to visit, they get my room as guest room and I crawl in the Man Cave with my guy.
In addition to enhancing our sleeping lives, there were other benefits to this arrangement that became clear after the change was made. The house became easier to keep straightened up. When we shared a bedroom, everyone’s stuff was all over the house. I would put his stuff in the bedroom to be put away, but of course he never would. Piles would form. I would beg him to clean them. Sometimes I cleaned the piles for him. The extra bedroom was supposed to be a studio for art and exercise, but it always seemed to be too cluttered to work in.
Now that the rooms are separate, when I pick up, everyone’s stuff goes to their respective rooms. The Herban Cowboy’s notebooks, papers, pens, cards, dirty socks, and other assorted random crap go directly into the black hole of his room and I no longer have to worry about it. The stress of dealing with his crap is gone. The stress he felt trying to conform to my lifestyle is gone. He is happier to do things like dishes and laundry now that he’s not being hounded constantly to cleancleancleanCLEAN.
There are folks who think this sort of living arrangement for married people is weird. My mother and my sister both seemed confused by the decision. What’s funny is they both wanted to know how we would… well… YOU know… (awkward pause). I assured them that that was one of the first things we figured out years ago when we first got together and that they shouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s actually kind of funny to watch my mother blush and stutter and giggle when she tries to ask me about my sex life.
My maternal grandparents had separate bedrooms. As a child I thought it was strange. I thought married people were supposed to sleep in the same bed together. That surely if they loved each other, they’d want to. Thirty years later, I see it much differently. I wonder if my Nannie loved having her own room as much as I do.