Is mine in trouble? Well it’s been difficult over the past couple of years some might say it’s been difficult from the start. I mean within a year we were being counselled, slept apart and I expected to leave him before our first Wedding Anniversary. I even turned down the opportunity to have a pair of emerald earrings made to match my engagement ring as I felt it would not be right to accept such a gift if I was going to call the whole thing off.
But 12 years down the line we are still married, still together and still sleeping apart. It’s easy to see why people think sleeping apart is a precursor or even an indicator of a marriage in trouble. It’s not normal. Most people sleep together because either there are not enough rooms for them to sleep apart, they don’t like being cold or being on their own, or they come from that generation where you married young to have sex as it was positively frowned upon if you had it outside marriage, or they may actually believe there is only one proper place for sex: the bedroom.
Now strange as it may seem but I believe bedrooms are primarily there for sleeping and I prefer to sleep on my own. I mean I do actually get to sleep and as any parent with young children will appreciate sleep can be a rare commodity especially getting enough of it.
We sleep apart so that we can sleep. He snores (and boy does he snore) and I am an insomniac. He has to get up early to go to work and I used to have to get up at night to feed the baby. So sleeping apart is not only practical but has actually prevented me doing any harm to my husband or vice versa.
Is that a marriage in turmoil? Probably not though I will admit it does mean that one has to think about sex more in order to get it and it is surprisingly easy to stay in bed rather than pad down cold corridors in the hope that your partner is still awake when one could just roll over or else have a quick grope in ever hopeful expectation.
However, couple sleeping apart with discord and maybe there might be a more pressing argument for a marriage in trouble.
Every marriage goes through ups and downs and arguments and cross words there are going to be a plenty. Ours are loud and frequent. In fact we have them so much, usually when we are both tired and stressed, that I don’t think we realise that we play them out in public. But it is not about the frequency, nor the loudness that is cause for concern; it depends on what they are about.
For me the argument is the same as the one that took us to counselling in the first place. My husband has a very strong paternal streak that is very dominant and that is what I have been fighting for years.
As I frequently say I don’t need another father I have a perfectly good one already. But the husband just doesn’t seem to get it and I try to work my way around it probably acting more and more childishly every day.
I am sure there was a time when patriarchal behaviour was something to be admired when the little woman didn’t know how to handle the more important matters of life such as finance, sport and reading the newspaper at the table. But that really isn’t the case nowadays. I don’t need, and nor do I want, to be told what to do or how to do it. I am quite capable of learning from my own mistakes, I prefer them, to be honest, than the ones forced on me.
Now is this an indicator of a marriage in trouble? I think we are getting somewhere.
Let’s throw in a few more indicators in to the pot. A stressful and all-consuming job, divergent interests, too little time alone with each other, difficult in-laws…
I’d say there were alarm bells ringing. This marriage could be in trouble.
Is it all over?
Well, I am not about to give up after 12 years, so that’s saying something isn’t it?