Apr 152014 1 Response

Stay Out of My Wife’s Bed

There are two serious threats to my marriage bed. They aren’t the only threats, but they are the primary threats. And they have names—Ella and Silas.

Left to them, they would sleep in my bed every night. And who can blame them?

It happens often, especially in the winter. I will put my children to bed and think, “I feel sorry for them that they have to sleep alone.” (See: Why We Don’t Have a Television in Our Bedroom)

Few things are better than sleeping (yes, actually sleeping) next to someone. If you are cold, there is a built-in heater. If you are lonely, you have a friend. If you are afraid, you have someone to comfort you.

Studies have shown that few things calm our minds and prepare our bodies for sleep like physical contact with another person as we go to bed.

I can’t blame my kids for wanting to sleep in their parents’ bed, but I don’t allow them.

The parenting advice can be debated. Is it better for the kids to learn to sleep in their own bed or does the attachment with their parents outweigh independence? My guess is that for the child, it doesn’t really matter. Some kids will do better in their own bed while other kids will do better with a closer proximity to their parents. (See: When to Teach Your Kid a Lesson)

While the parenting advice can be debated, the marriage advice is more clear. It’s better for the marriage when kids sleep in their own bed.

It’s not always easier. Often it is easier not to fight the battle, throw the kids in bed, deal with sleeping on one percent of the bed, and do your best. But while it’s easier in the moment, it is harder in the long run. It would be far better to fight the initial battle in order to win the war than to continually concede to the sleeping choices of the children.

When kids are consistently allowed in their parents’ bed, what do the parents have left? What space is uniquely reserved for a husband and wife?

In our house, the bed belongs to the parents. The kids don’t like it. The parents are often tempted to concede. But in the end it has been worth the fight.

The general rule has been—kids sleep in their bed until morning. After 5am, we might allow them to slide in beside us to grab another few minutes of sleep, but generally speaking they do not sleep with us. (See: Are You Having Enough Sex?)

We might sleep with them. On occasion when a child is sick or scared, they need one of us to be with them to sleep. In those moments, we sleep in their bed. But they do not sleep in ours.


Because we must do some things to protect our marriage. We must carve out space which belongs solely to us. We must fight against things and people who might threaten our marriage. And if you don’t think your kids will try to weaken your marriage, you do not understand the nature of children. At nearly every age, they will attempt to get their way by putting a wedge between mom and dad. As teenagers it is a metaphorical wedge of disagreement on punishment. As toddlers it is an actual wedge of a small human being sleeping between husband and wife.

Guard the space or they will take it. (See: How to Protect Your Marriage)

Children need to know they are loved. They need to be protected, comforted, and secured. Yet they also need to know the order of relationships in a healthy home. They are part of the family, but they do not run the family. They are important to their parents, but their parents will place each other above their children.

I love Ella and Silas. I love them so much that I refuse to allow them to sleep in my bed. I choose to sleep in the same bed with their mother because it will help our marriage. And anything which helps our marriage will help them.

I love you kids, but stay out of my wife’s bed.

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