Marriage Dilemma: Do Couples Need to Share Bedrooms?

Couples haven't always shared beds, or even bedrooms. Why is it necessary now? Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

I’ve had trouble with sleep my whole life. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, but mostly I’ve had trouble because sleep doesn’t find me unless I’m in darkness or silence. The smallest disturbance can snap me awake — can ruin my entire next day. 

Why? Because not only am I particular about my sleeping environment, but of how much sleep I get. I’ve never been a night owl, but I’m definitely not an early bird either. While many can feel good after six or seven hours, I need about 10 to feel truly refreshed. 

I’ve done a decent job at managing these struggles, because I never had to share a bedroom, I could set my schedule and environment the way I needed to. Until college. 

I slept in a dorm with a roommate for two years here at New Paltz, and it was challenging. My roommate was gracious enough to lay in the room quietly with the lights off when I needed bedtime, but I always had a guilty conscience making her do that. Now, I have my own room, and it’s much better. I can go to sleep whenever I need to without inconveniencing anyone else, and I can wake up wherever I want to, too. I’ve been so happy having my own room once more, that I’ve been feeling like I could never go back to sharing a bedroom with anyone, ever again.

And I won’t need to. Until I get married. 

Society tells us that most married couples need to share a bedroom and sleep in the same bed. Now, I know it wasn’t always like this. When I watched “Bridgerton” Daphne made a comment saying that it is custom for women to reside in separate bed chambers after the honeymoon stage. Slowly overtime, though, we transitioned from separate bedrooms to same bedrooms, separate beds. Shows like “I Love Lucy” used to show couples in twin beds with a nightstand between them. And that’s just simply not the case anymore, somewhere along the way it became the norm for couples to share a bedroom and a bed. 

Having your own bedroom isn’t just about sleeping, it’s about personal space. It’s your own little getaway where you can have total privacy. I believe that it should not be custom for couples to share a bedroom and I think it would decrease divorce rates if we abolished this standard. I can imagine, despite however much you may love the person, it would be hard to be on top of them 24/7 for the rest of your life, and having separate bedrooms would give you the intimate space we all need.

This is where I get stuck, though. I can’t imagine having this conversation with my future husband, for example. I wouldn’t want to hurt him or have him take it personally, and I’m sure I would enjoy bed sharing with him at times. You know, falling asleep in each other’s arms and being the first thing you see in the morning. That’s all great, but that’s what sleepovers are for! Why does it have to be an everyday thing? That way, on a night where we choose to sleep together, it’s much more special. It truly would feel like a sleepover and I think it would be a great way to feel appreciation for your partner. Besides, showing and receiving appreciation is one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship.

I know that a lot of this probably has to do with money, especially if children are involved. Having separate bedrooms would mean finding a place to live to accommodate that, and more rooms usually equals more money. I really understand that. I just wish it didn’t have to be difficult. Hopefully the universe doesn’t punish me for this article and put me in a position where it’s not possible, but I know that I at least would be willing to work a little extra and save up money for a situation that can allow this.

I can imagine myself in the future just needing a break from time to time. But is that going to lead to a fight? Is that going to make my partner question where I stand? These are headaches that would all be avoided if people just got into the habit of having their own rooms again.

I bring this up to my mom and she always says, “But even if he agrees to it, what will your kids think? What will happen when they go to school and talk about how Mommy and Daddy don’t sleep in the same bed.” 

I can only speak for myself in saying that my mom complains about my dad’s snoring and picking up his clothes from their floor. As someone who’s heard my dad snore, I wouldn’t blame my mom at all if she had her own room, and no one should have to clean up after someone else just to have a nice living environment.

But the kid argument has some merit in my eyes, although it just gives me all the more reason to argue we should abolish bedroom sharing in our culture. I want a strong family unit, I do. I don’t want my kids to think I am estranged from their father (and trust me I mean NO shade to people who are separated or have separated parents). I truly believe separate bedrooms would equal a happier and healthier marriage life, but I also don’t want to be the one to set that precedent. Or have my kids face negative comments in school about it.

I could not get married, I could not have kids, but I’d like to do both. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess?

So that’s where I stand. I can complain all I want, but I am not likely the person who is going to lead the charge on this on my own. Is there anyone out there that feels the way I do? Maybe, if we all speak up and join together, we can get rid of bedroom sharing forever.

About Emily O'Neil 114 Articles
Emily O’Neil is a third-year public relations major with a minor in creative writing, originating from Clifton Park, NY. This is her sixth semester on the Oracle and second as Sports Editor. Her favorite team is the New York Yankees even though they keep disappointing her. You can reach her by emailing oneile1@newpaltz.edu.