Ronke Abayomi had been frustrated since she got married to her husband, Jimi. The reason for her despair was not because he was having an extramarital affair; but because he snored loudly every night.
Abayomi was a banker and she usually left home for work as early as 5am and returned between 9pm and 10pm.
“We used to joke about his loud snoring a lot. But it got to a point I couldn’t bear it anymore because it was affecting my much needed night rest. On some mornings, I am usually very snappy because of sleep disturbance the previous night. One day, I had to tell him bluntly how I felt. He looked surprised and said he thought I was used to it,” she said.
For the sake of peace and rest of mind, Abayomi said they had to reach a compromise by sleeping in separate rooms. “It was not the ideal situation we would have wanted, but I couldn’t help his snoring anymore. Now he can snore all he wants and both of us are happy the next morning,” she said.
For James and Anna, the decision to sleep in separate beds was borne, not out of snoring, but of infidelity.
James stopped sharing the same room with his wife, Anna, the day she found out about his extra-marital affair. They had been married for five years.
It started a night when his wife, out of nagging curiosity, decided to pick his telephone call while he was in the bathroom. She had noticed that, for about two weeks since he returned from a business trip, he had been receiving strange calls at night and would excuse himself from their bedroom to pick the call in the sitting room.
When she picked the call, she heard a woman’s voice at the other end. “Hello, James. I have missed you, when are you coming to Abuja again?” The lady at the other end asked.
“You are calling a married man, and this is his wife,” Anna barked into the phone. The lady at the other end hung up immediately.
Seething with rage, Anna had confronted James when he came out of the bathroom.
“Even though this was not the first time of having an affair outside my marriage, I knew I had to act fast, so I told her it was a one night affair and a mistake because I was drunk at the party last week in Abuja. Since then, we have not been sharing the same room. It has put a strain to our marriage, but I prefer it that way. No one would snoop around my phone anymore,” he said.
They are among the 30 to 40 per cent of married couples who sleep in separate bedrooms, according to a 2013 study from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.
The finding of the Toronto study was corroborated by a 2015 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, which noted that about one in four couples sleep in separate bedrooms.
Couples have different reasons why they choose to sleep in separate rooms, but the standard should be for them to share the same room, noted sex and relationship coach, Mr. Praise Fowowe.
He noted that there were many advantages that couples who share the same room enjoy more than those who don’t.
He said, “In the first place, why should couples even want to sleep in different rooms? Marriage is the coming together of two different people to form a union. So, they need to blend together; sharing the same room helps them to bond better and it is in the best interest of the couple. But imagine being in the same house and having to ‘travel’ from one room to another when one wants to spend time with one’s wife.”
Fowowe said couples sleeping in separate rooms could be allowed in some instances, like when one of them likes to be on their own. “But even if that is the case, then it means that person does not need to be married,” he said.
The Odions have been married for four years. Both husband and wife said they were indifferent to sleeping in separate rooms. “As a matter of fact, it works both ways for us. I like my privacy, so sometimes; I want to be on my own, without any disturbance. In times like that, I spend more time alone in the other room,” Peter Odion said.
“I knew he liked to enjoy his own space sometimes, even before we got married. We discussed this aspect and I was comfortable with it, although I would prefer it if we shared the same room all the time,” said his wife, Abigail.
Sleeping in separate bedrooms is a matter of choice for couples, noted Fowowe. “If it the arrangement is working for them, then it is fine. It should be a joint decision,” he said.
That arrangement doesn’t sit well with a mother of one, Mrs. Adeola Akpan. “My husband and I have been married for 10 years now and we have never slept in separate rooms. Couples should share the same room, that is why it is called ‘matrimony,’’ she said.
Akpan further said, in most cases, couples that sleep in separate bedroom tend to start drifting apart and hiding little details from each other. She said couples that share the same bedroom enjoy more intimacy.
“When couples start sleeping in separate bedroom, they start having secrets. Staying together ensures closeness, and that there are no room for grudges. But when they start sleeping apart, that bond is gradually being broken,” she noted.
An American emotional fitness expert, Dr. Barton Goldsmith, supported Akpan’s views.
In an article for , Goldsmith said the decision of couples to sleep separately could make it more difficult to resolve their differences, as well as cause damage to the foundation of the relationship.
“Without getting too here, I believe we do exchange some kind of energy with the person we are sleeping with, and sometimes it can be quite powerful and wonderful. When you don’t get the chance to experience that, you will feel that something is missing in your love life, though you may not be able to place exactly what it is. In addition, couples who do not sleep together tend to be less communicative with each other, which can have an effect on the entire family,” he said.
Goldsmith’s views are part of the reasons why Tayo Ogunjimi said he and his wife share the same bedroom.
He said, “My wife and I can’t sleep apart, even though we have two beds. I follow the principles of the Bible which says two are better than one. And when couples sleep together, they are one. Sharing same bedroom helps couples to build trust, as they can share and discuss their innermost desires and resolve issues between them.
Sometimes, my three-year-old daughter comes to sleep in our room; this helps us to encourage bonding and unity in the family. Togetherness is a key word in family, and a better family would make a better society.”
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