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It's true. I have been sleeping on the couch. It's not what you think though. Yes, my Beloved and I do get on each other's nerves. He angers me at times. I anger him. We are normal, I'm convinced. But none of all that is why I'm sleeping on the couch.
I have horrible hips. It started about 2 years ago... this excruciating pain in the night that would regularly awaken me. I ignored it for quite awhile, because honestly, I didn't have time for such an inconvenience. Well, ignoring pain that leads to sleepless nights generally only leads to... uhh... more sleepless nights. Especially if the pain gets worse. Which it did.
So, on the morning I woke up and physically could not stand, I re-considered my "just ignore it and it will go away" agenda. Trips to doctors. X-rays. Blood tests. Ruling out arthritis. Six weeks of physical therapy. Downing ibuprofen like it was M&Ms in the office candy dish. Yada. Yada. Yada. I mean, it all helped some. But not nearly enough to garner me enough sleep to function. And as every wise woman knows, if mama is grumpy and tired, such emotions will soon show up in the rest of the family. Like sharing the flu or a bad case of pink eye.
What we really figured out helped is if I slept on our couch, which is much firmer than the 16-year-old bed my Beloved bought long before he thought he'd be sleeping with a wife. He sleeps like a baby (I mean, a baby that actually sleeps, which I realize some of you reading this have never had).
So, after dropping our youngest munchkin off at a birthday party one Saturday, I made a trip to "The Mart." For those of you who aren't Nebraska folk, "The Nebraska Furniture Mart" is the largest furniture store in North America. I think that's its claim to fame. (Heck, it's partly Omaha's claim to fame). Fortunately, it was a stone's throw from the birthday party and I knew exactly where the mattresses were.
Have you shopped for mattresses lately? Let me just say that if you walk into a furniture store that is like the size of a couple football fields (I could be exaggerating. I'm not sure), then you have more than a few choices of mattresses.
Boy, did I get schooled on mattresses that day. The one I settled on? A $7,000 king with adjustable head and foot rests for both sides and a high-end memory foam mattress. When I told a friend about it later, he said, "So, uhh, you want to buy a hospital bed?" He said it with part sarcasm and part disbelief.
"It's not a hospital bed," I argued. He smiled. I knew he was right. I mean, it was like a really comfortable, visually appealing, upscale type of hospital bed. Without the call button for the nurse, of course, but maybe that could be added. And did I mention this price tag didn't even include a headboard and footboard?
So, anyway, this is the bed I settled on. Mind you, it's not the bed we bought. God bless the sales gal, who had spent all this time having me lay on upteen beds and explaining the features of memory foam and so forth. She could tell from the look on my face that I may not have the greatest of success if I came home and said I wanted a $7,000 bed to my husband who feels angst over spending $30 at Wendy's.
She tried to be clever, as all good salespeople are trained to do. "Well," she offered, "maybe if you start with saying you want the $7,000 bed, he won't feel so much trauma when you actually buy the $5,000 bed, which, I might add, is very comfortable as well."
We still have no new bed. Interestingly, Randall didn't flinch at the $7,000 price tag (even though we had just installed a new furnace and a new air conditioner). He surmised that we spend "a third of our life in bed" and that "a good night's sleep is necesary for good health." God bless that man. Still... $7,000 for a mattress? Even my most impulsive side, as well as the comment someone made to me awhile back about "sex being amazing on memory foam," couldn't quite convince me this was going to be a good financial decision. And making big financial decisions has never really been our fortay. Still researching. Still sleeping on the couch.
As for our sexual intimacy in our hiatus from actually sleeping together, that has never wavered. We like sex. A lot. And my hips didn't bother me at all during sex.
You know what does bother me about the sleeping arrangements? It's the "room-matish" feel of sleeping apart. I don't like it. He doesn't like it either. I miss our conversations as we would drift toward sleep. I miss feeling his hand in mine. I miss the oneness that is about so much more than sex. I miss his warmth. I don't miss hips that hurt in the morning, but all those other things are starting to get to me.
Now, I know there are couples who sleep apart and remain happily married. I've talked to a few and I think I've read about a few. But honestly, it doesn't sound like the best option, does it? I think there is something emotionally connecting about sleeping next to the person you married.
And I must add, I think we have got to get this issue resolved soon (for more than the apparent reasons). The 5-year-old has been crawling into bed with my husband each morning and announced the other day to both of us that our bedroom is now his and dad's room. My room? He said that's now the living room. Hmmm. I think a $7,000 purchase may just remind the wayward little one of his proper place in our house. And in our marriage.
Who knows? We may make my friendly saleswoman who works on commission very happy someday soon. She graciously handed me her card, with her work hours clearly printed.