Thursday, April 26, 2007

Marriage & the Family Bed

My grandparents were quite liberal. When they married, they were first among their peers to share a bedroom. Being decent folks, they slept separately in twin beds.

People in most parts of the world, though, practice the family bed. Mom, Dad, baby, and sometimes even kids! Countries that practice the “family bed” have divorce rates five times less than that of the US.

I’m not silly enough to think the US divorce rate would radically drop if parents just quit putting their babies in the crib, any more than I believe “peace begins with breastfeeding.” But I have to mention the statistics because I was raised to believe that co-sleeping “contaminates the marriage bed.”

As far as I was concerned, the family bed was the crutch of parents too weak-willed for sleep training or the shield for women wanting to avoid their husband’s touch. In fact, before Peter was born, I wanted to put his crib in the dining room. Tom thought that was strange and kept suggesting our bedroom. I kept saying, “Do you ever want to have sex again?”

Since Peter’s arrival, I’ve read most sleep books written in the past ten years. And then some. I’ll save that story for another time—but I will say this:

Tom and I and Peter now share a bed for a good part of the night. And you know what? We cherish our mornings together, especially when Tom doesn’t have to get up super early. With our little family all snuggled up, we wake to Peter’s pats and babbles. The three of us will laugh and linger in bed for close to an hour! We have decided that Peter is welcome in our bed for as long as he needs it, even if he’s five.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that what can kill sex is not location but stress, working long hours, and sometimes even hormones. Our intimate life is feast or famine depending on Tom’s work schedule—which isn’t a whole lot different than before Peter came along.

So our marriage flourishes. It flourishes in a different room, but it flourishes.


Christi said...

We love the cuddles, too. And while I have BEEN ready for Ry to leave the bed, it's my DH that loves to snuggle up to him. He feels that he gets back some of that time he loses each day while he's at work.

Martha's World said...

Yeah, it's really surprised me how much Tom likes this. Maybe it IS that element of getting some time back when he's been at work for so long!