Does the idea of spending the night sleeping in a food court or office sound restful and romantic? If not, consider how you and your spouse are using your bed. What you bring to bed with you could be ruining the rest and intimacy you both need and want.
Here are five things that you should not take with you to bed.
1. Electronic Devices:
Portable tech is hard to avoid in today’s hashtag-driven world. Some families are dumping the phones at dinner. One restaurant chain is even rewarding families with free ice cream if they ditch the phones during their meals together. But if you’re like Susan and me, the tech can become a big distraction at bedtime, an occasional struggle in our own marriage. Checking social media, playing games to wind down, or answering emails and texts can be irritating. Using ebook readers can also be harmful, as research suggests that using light-emitting devices messes up your sleep overnight and your alertness the next day.
Every couple with kids has experienced the occasional stormy night or scary dream that has driven one or more of the kids to climb into their bed, and it’s good to comfort them. But granting ongoing access to children is not healthy or helpful to a couple, long-term. We know a couple whose child slept with them all the time while growing up, as old as 7 years or so.
Who doesn’t like a late-night snack? Aside from becoming messy, the regular intake of food and drink in bed can disturb your body’s ability to sleep restfully. What is in the food can disrupt your rest by forcing your body to be working on digestion when it’s trying to sleep. Food can also kill opportunities for intimacy.
4. Heavy Topics:
We’ve talked before about having an argument curfew, and written about the consequences of going to bed angry. But even bringing up heavy topics that aren’t a source of conflict can still be detrimental to your sleep and your relationship. When the mind can’t rest, the body struggles to rest, too. And few if any couples think, relate and communicate better when they are already exhausted from the day. So find a time and place away from bedtime to work through those conflicts or heavy issues.
What is happening at work can impact every other item on this list. Work can cause you to feel anxious about your emails, tempt you to reach for comfort foods under stress, and create conflict or heaviness that needs attention. Your work should not dominate your mind and heart while you’re in your bed, especially when you have your spouse to consider as well. If you need to catch up on paperwork, reading, emails and the like, do it before bedtime. Let your bed be a place of rest and relationship for you and your spouse.
Of course, there are some good things you can bring to bed that will help you as a couple. Take into your marriage bed a playful heart, a sense of joy and awe, a willingness to focus on each other, an openness to sharing your feelings with each other…and an agreement to sometimes just relax and cuddle, no strings attached.
What other distractions are hurting your rest and intimacy in bed? What adjustments have you made with your spouse to overcome them? Share your ideas and thoughts below.