Why the Spare Room Saves our Marriage

It seems in most marital folklore, the spare room is the dark dungeon of doom, the place where stroppy spouses sulk, and where only anger and resentment sleep. But I offer an alternative view.

My hubby is an oncologist who gets up at 6.15 every morning and is out of the house by seven before the girls wake up. He leaves work early so he can see them before they go to bed and then works every evening catching up on patient’s notes and paperwork. He’s busy. He’s tired.

I’m on my sixth pregnancy in 5 years (my third baby) and have been pregnant two and a half years of those five. I don’t sleep well, not helped by Poppy who decides to visit me at least four nights out of seven – often wearing a tutu. I have no childcare, and as well as looking after them and the home, I try to write magazine articles, blogs and a novel. I’m busy. I’m tired.

So sometimes we need a night off. The spare room in our house is not the Room of Resentment – it is the Bedroom of Bliss. We’ve never ever used it as a retreat from each other, but we often use it as retreat from the children. It is the Reward Room, the place we offer up to each other as a treat to refresh ourselves and get a good night’s sleep. “Why don’t you sleep in the spare room tonight?” is one of the nicest things hubby can say to me!

The other day I mentioned sleeping in the spare room to my mum and she raised that ever-expressive eyebrow (I’ve mentioned before how much my mum can say without actually talking just by raising her eyebrow – I’ve tried but I just look like someone whose face lift went wrong). “That’s not good for a marriage you know,” she claimed. I knew better than to argue (merely rolled my eyes – standard response to raised eyebrow – we barely have to talk). But I did ponder it. And as such, I’ve decided to go public with my findings.
THE SPARE ROOM IS A MARRIAGE SAVER. I’ll tell you one thing that’s a marriage breaker – Exhaustion, along with its team mates Grumpy, Short-temper and Snappy. If they are not controlled on a regular basis, then the spare room would indeed be used for altogether different reasons. So I just wondered… is anyone else a closet Spare Room User? Does anyone else want to come out and admit that closing that spare room door is the best part of the week?

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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11 Responses to Why the Spare Room Saves our Marriage

  1. Beth says:

    I LOVE our spare bedroom. It has the best mattress, and on the days I'm just not feeling well we actually fight over who gets to sleep in there!


  2. BNM says:

    I'd love to have a spare room – husband has been known to sleep on sofa before now!


  3. Foodie Mummy says:

    I have to try our spare room. We did it up and I went out to Ikea on my own, bought the sofa bed on my own and put it up on my own. I'm sure that just for that I deserve a good night sleep in there! If it works for anybody, well, keep doing it!


  4. Yep I'm with you there. We do the same, the spare room is the haven for a good night's sleep. We both covet the odd night in there. Alone. It's really the only way to get any kind of lie in, as the toddler wouldn't think to look there for me! I love the picture of you and your girls, really lovely.


  5. Da says:

    There's an 'h' in onchologist – and education is SO expensive


  6. The spare room is an often used little treat. We have been known to happily kiss each other good night before going to our separate rooms. I thought we were the only ones!


  7. Oh absolutely. It is a haven of peace and tranquliity (although sometimes toy trains have to be removed from it before you can get into it!). Oh, and of course, it's also used when the snoring becomes intolerable 😉


  8. Mummy mania says:

    Delighted we're not the only ones!! Oh, and thanks dad for the spelling lesson! Again.


  9. Alexis says:

    I think we need a spare room! Your post makes perfect sense to me!!


  10. Gosh, I'm not surprised you are exhausted. The spare room sounds a very sensible idea to me.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Love the spare room – its the modern version of twin beds a la Basil and Sybil Faulty!!


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