Spring is a glorious season, it's a time for gratitude and celebration. We get to reflect on hope, renewal, and the gift of our salvation in Christ Jesus.
This week's question provides an opportunity to appreciate the courage and strength it takes to prioritize our well-being and set boundaries in our relationships. By focusing on what is working and finding solutions that honor our values and needs, we can work to build healthy and fulfilling relationships. Let us take a moment to appreciate the resilience and wisdom of those who seek to honor God with their bodies and relationships. May this post inspire us to practice wisdom, gratitude and curiosity in all areas of our lives.
This Week’s Question:
My husband and I live in the same house, but we sleep in different bedrooms. While I am okay with this arrangement, my husband is still adjusting to it. Our children and grandchildren are visiting soon, and I am not yet ready to share a bedroom with my husband. How can I explain to them why I no longer sleep in the same room as my husband?
Dear sister in Christ,
We receive questions like yours often, and I want to acknowledge the courage it takes to seek God's best for yourself, your husband, and your family. As a community, we understand the complexities that arise as relationships face challenges, and I hold space for you as you prepare to share a courageous conversation with your loved ones.
First and foremost, it's crucial to understand that your decision to sleep in a separate room is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we must honor God with them. When in an emotionally, sexually, or physically abusive relationship, sleeping in the same room as your spouse can cause harm to your body, mind, spirit, and soul.
God does not want you to endure abuse or a relationship that is harmful to your well-being. In Proverbs 29:25, we are told that the fear of man brings a snare. Whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Your decision to sleep in a separate room is a way of setting boundaries and protecting yourself from harm, which is essential for your safety and well-being. Quality sleep is foundational to your wellbeing.
Ideas to get you started: In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Your decision to sleep in a separate room is a way of showing love to yourself and your husband by setting boundaries that will hopefully lead to a healthier relationship.
God hates it when humans mistreat one another. If you and your husband are working through issues and seeking healing, there may be hope for reconciliation. However, if the relationship is emotionally or physically harmful, separation during the nighttime hours may be necessary to protect yourself. Your safety, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically is important to God.
You have the time and space right now to make a decision. When talking to your children and grandchildren about this issue, it's important to be honest, direct, and age-appropriate.
To prepare for a courageous conversation, it's essential to get clear and confident in your approach. Ask yourself a curious question such as, “What is the most important thing I want them to know right now?” Pause, pray, and journal your answer. Prepare the most important points that need to be communicated and plan when you will share. Keep it simple and to the point. Practice often what you will say, and how you will say it. How will you respect all involved?
Here are some additional questions for you to ponder: Do you want to share the bare minimum, or would you like to explain your relationship challenges in more detail – understanding that your spouse may disagree with your reasons, even in front of the children and grandchildren?. Will that end up causing conflict during their visit?. How will that feel? Are the sleeping arrangements something you would like to discuss prior to their arrival? Remember friend, You get to choose the how, when, and what you share.
During this challenging time, it's essential to seek support from trusted safe friends, family members, or a wise coach/counselor who can help you through this difficult time. Your children may also need support and counseling to understand and process what is happening in their family. And that is okay. May the Lord give you strength, wisdom, and courage as you prayerfully pause, prepare, practice, and plan for this important conversation.
Finally, remember that God is ever-present. You can turn to Him for strength and guidance. In Psalm 46:1, the Bible tells us that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Invite your family to pray for you and your husband and for the strength and wisdom to navigate this difficult situation. Place the outcome at the foot of the cross and believe that God holds you and your family in His mighty right hand.
Beloved Readers, how have you prepared yourself for the courageous conversations that matter most?
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LeAnne, I love your thoughtful response. This dear lady doesn’t say why she sleeps apart from her husband, but there is a good chance it is because she doesn’t feel safe to be in the bed with him when she is asleep. I loved your advice to hold on to the boundary even when family is visiting. Yes, they may ask questions. It might be best to talk with them before they arrive. Her family may try to push back, and tell Mom/Grandma that she “shouldn’t” sleep separately. I also love your suggestion to have supportive friends and/or a counselor around you as you do this difficult thing. It is very hard to set boundaries when we don’t have the support we need. Cloud and Townsend have written a great book called Boundaries. Here is my summary of the book: https://carolineabbott.com/2016/10/standing-up-for-yourself-by-using-boundaries/
Thank you for sharing your heart and your encouragement. The relationships we navigate in real time are oftentimes challenging. One step at a time sweet Jesus. So grateful He walks with us and He talks with us and He reminds us that we are His girls…
I’m in the same situation. If our children or grandchildren were coming to stay, I would go sleep in the same room as my husband, but only on an air mattress or sleeping bag.
Baxter, Way to take care of yourself! You are reminding each of us here to be creative. A wonderful alternative to reactivity. Just one letter changes everything! We can find the choices and opportunities that will honor each season we are in. Thank you for sharing.
Creative or enable?
It is possible they won’t even care. My grandparents had separate bedrooms even though they by all accounts got along well—nobody cared if they slept together. As an adult I can see it was because of my grandfathers job, with extremely varied and irregular hours, but regardless of the reason, it did not matter to anyone else. My other grandparents had a less healthy relationship, yet slept together.
I have known other people who sleep separately by mutual agreement for work or other reasons (even just one person snores way too much for the other one to sleep.) I know people who sleep separately because, like the writer, their spouse is destructive, and it is either emotionally, physically, or sexually unsafe. I also know some who sleep separately because the abusive spouse wants to sleep separately, because they are neglectful and emotionally detached (not the healthy detachment an abused person chooses in response to her abuser.)
Personally I find it sad not to sleep together, as I view that as part of intimacy (emotionally, not primarily sexual.) But I would not draw huge conclusions or care about anyone else’s choice, family or not. There is no way to know the reasons and it is none of my business.
I agree with everything said and I would prepare myself in case they are upset. But while it is possible your family might care, then again they really might not.
To edit, I meant that I think it is sad if it is necessary to sleep separately. Not that people should not decide to sleep separately if they are abused. That is a wise and healthy decision. As it can be for people with conflicting work hours, etc.
E- it really is a both and kind of life. We have the opportunity to show up as our very best selves. Even in the midst of challenges and awkward situations. Our God is bigger than anything we could walk into…
Kids may not care. Can say Dad snores too.muvh. whatever take you want to make up. There has been a lot of gaslighting and blame shifting in your relationship already.. Your dysfunctional family dynamic is their normal. They were groomed to tolerate your abuser. It is your choice when and where you want the end the cycle of abuse.
This question and these responses are helpful to me!
So happy to hear that we are supporting you in this space. Thank you for sharing.
Late in the game here. But I have had to make this decision. Back and forth for years with the decision to sleep in separate rooms. I live in an emotionally destructive marriage(42 years ) . I’ve chosen to stay well.
My children and grandchildren live 5 minutes away. They’re over all the time. I used to be embarrassed about my decision to sleep in separate bedrooms. But I’ve begun to understand that my emotional health is
more important to me. No more pretending, this is my reality, reality is my friend. For me, I believe if I compromise my true desire then I am not respecting myself. I’m trying to respect myself more now then caring about what other people might think. Jesus knows my why and that is what gives me peace.
Thank You for sharing. The Legacy of love
Living will indeed ripple forward. You are brave, bold, and honest. No more pretending is step one in Core Strength. Committing to the truth. Truth in the inside and the outside.
So happy this has been helpful for you- please stay connected here and thanks for sharing!
You Don’t have to share anything. It’s your business. You know your relationships, and can guess who will ask or pry. What do you want to tell them. It can be as simple as I sleep better alone.
Thank you Kay for affirming the power of choice. I appreciate that!
This thread is helpful. I slept apart from my husband last night and tomorrow my college aged son is coming home. I am not sure what I will do. I cannot rest sleeping beside a persons who is so hurtful to me (distant, neglectful, emotionally inept). Now I am the one who is pulling away, for protection. It’s such a sad commentary on our 30 year marriage.
Angie, I am in your same situation. I moved down the hall about 5 months ago. His anger just permeated the bedroom. I do sleep better alone and I told my kids so at Christmas. The grown ones “got it” and the grandchildren didn’t say anything. They just crawled up in the bed with me in the night! It was wide open to all of them! Don’t feel pressured to go against your self to make room for someone else.
Thank you for sharing your experience here. Each woman’s journey is her own to walk.
Your example is a blessing to many. We are reminded that we all have choices. We can make empowered ones.
Your son has known about his father for a long time. Be the best mother you can be and leave his abusive father. It will help your son heal from the crazy childhood he went through with a destructive father who was not accountable for his sins.
All of us have choices to make and they are our own. We are here to walk with you no matter what choice you make. Please make a safety plan for your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Safety and trust are so important in every relationship. Taking care of yourself is good stewardship.
Many times in these situations I have learned a big lesson. That is zip my lips.
It’s none of there business unless u want it to be but it could stir up a whole hornets nest is what I find.
Do u want them all talking about u?
If u bring it up they will.
Some people snore or are light sleepers
50% of middle aged people sleep in separate beds for many reasons.
I wouldn’t say anything unless they ask and have the prepared answer if you don’t want them talking about it.
That’s between u and your husband unless u truly want to share but people don’t react the way u want most of the time which is w compassion.
So ask yourself do u really want them to know
I agree with Kay. Why do we think we owe people an explanation for what we choose to do? Fear of disapproval or gossip? If the children don’t know y there are problems, maybe there needs to be a whole other conversation, like, your dad and I have been living a false front all these years. Prepare them for what’s coming? Just a thought. This is the hardest part of dealing with abuse, I think. This could be the beginning of ‘it gets worse before it gets better ‘.
Brave conversations are hard to have sometimes, and so powerful when done with prayer, preparation, planning practice, and purpose.
If you tell the truth about your abusive marriage your children can finally heal from the harm they experienced. Abuser’s harm people. I would pick a time to talk to the children before the visit. Expect varying responses from your children. Some will linger in denial others will ask you why you stayed with their father and didn’t value yourself more.
Truth may be hard in the moment, truth eventually heals hearts that don’t even realize yet that they need healing and care. Denial is not our destiny. Thank you for sharing.
I sleep in the living room in a twin bed sectioned off by 2 large bookcases (7 months now).
My children are teenagers and see a lot. I basically told them “Everyone needs a safe / private place. This is my safe place while I’m healing.”
I have it decorated nicely with pictures, bulletin board with scriptures, etc.
Thank you for sharing what has worked for you. We are stronger together.