One Resolution for a Better Marriage

I write a good deal about the importance of getting good sleep. I have long been convinced this is a huge marriage issue. Now I have a bit more science to back my belief. A new study (information here) shows a lack of sleep, or interrupted sleep, messes with emotion regulation. In other words being tired makes us cranky.

I realise this is a case of science proving something we all knew already. The question then is will this “proof” lead us to make changes?

Woman holding eyes open © Antonioguillem |

If you and your hubby each get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night you will both feel better. You will each be less likely to feel grumpy, and you will both be better able to put up with the things life throws you. This would be good for your marriage in many ways.

Of course making it happen could be a problem. We get too little sleep because we do too much. What would you be willing to cut out to get more sleep? Can you convince hubby to go along with the plan?

Then there’s the uninterrupted part. This could mean changes in when you drink caffeine or how much of anything you drink in the evening. It may require changing your evening habits. You might have to get room darkening shades or change the thermostat. Check out Sleeping Tips & Tricks from the National Sleep Foundation. (If you have a baby you can’t do this for a while – keep telling yourself it’s not forever and do all you can to be decent to each other despite the lack of good sleep.)

BTW: Studies show poor sleep results in men having significantly lower testosterone levels. If your hubby’s not up for all the sex you want, poor sleep could be a major factor.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and good sleep makes me a much better husband.


Sleep loss lowers testosterone in healthy young men | The University of Chicago Medicine 
Why lack of sleep is bad for your health | NHS Choices 
Sleep and Disease Risk | Healthy Sleep 
Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety | Healthy Sleep 

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14 Comments on “One Resolution for a Better Marriage

  1. I have had to cut out precious me-time (that time after the kids go to bed and before I go to bed where after chores are finished I can read a book). I miss my book, but I need the sleep.

    Hubby has me sleep in on the weekends, too, now. That helps. Especially when he brings me coffee in bed.

    The ONLY thing is he takes advantage of me being in bed and keeps me up sometimes or wakes me early for sex. Sometimes I am annoyed by it, but give him a quickie. Other times I try to be more involved and enthusiastic. Would be even better if he let me dose in dream land while he pleasured me, but that’s not going to happen without a lightening bolt from God.

  2. Lack of sleep affects me significantly in all areas. For several weeks now I’ve been struggling with my sleeping patterns and after that amount of time, it really takes a toll. We take vacations from work, and last night I wondered about a vacation from marriage. Just a few days when I don’t have the pressure of being healthy, happy, hot and horny. Just a few days when I can just “be.”

  3. Hi Paul. This is kinda unrelated, but since you’re so good at translating men, I have a question. My husband is a great man. He works very, very hard. When we have sex, he enjoys it, probably even more than I do. But he rarely gets the party started, he usually leaves that up to me and that makes me feel unwanted. So anyway, I was just making the bed, and I thought about leaving him a note that says something like, “Hey there, this bed is getting bored and would like to see a little action.” He’d catch on and he’d probably laugh about it and it would most likely lead to sex. BUT, doesn’t that make me look desperate? Doesn’t that constitue me having to beg for it – again? We all know that normal, healthy men are wildly attracted to their wives and pursue them often, even if they get told no. So why does my husband, who claims he loves me and is attracted to me, seem to make me want to have to plead to be loved (sexually)? I’m not overweight, people think I’m ten years younger than I am (I know looks don’t matter, but I don’t think the way I look is the issue.)
    Part of me thinks I should just get over myself and leave him the funny note and enjoy the intimacy that will most likely come from it. But a larger part of me so badly wants HIM to desire ME. Is this so wrong? Why does it have to be this way? As a man, do you think me leaving him the note is pathetic? (Keep in mind I have initiated most of our marriage, well… Until I learned it was wrong and I started holding back.) I try so hard NOT to initiate, argh! I’m so frustrated with all of this.
    On a different note, I’ve found some herbs that claim to reduce your libido, so that’s my next route. I wish one of these husbands who claim to be frustrated that their wives aren’t into sex could sit my husband down and help him realize that it’s a blessing to have a sex positive wife, and not a curse.
    But back to my original question. Leaving the note (in other words – having to beg for intimacy) good idea or pathetic and stupid?

    • @Me – As I mentioned in my “The Sex He THINKS He Wants” post here, most (all?) men are messed up sexually. I’m working on a post for TGH titled “Male Sexuality Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All” that will cover this more.
      What you describe above is the most common male sexuality, but it’s not the only version and I’d say not the only normal version. I have no idea what his past has done to your husband, or what’s going on in his mind, but I assure you his response is much more about him and his past than it is about you.
      I’ll tell you what I tell men who stop asking for sex because they want their wife to initiate – “If you don’t ask, you have not been refused.” If you can have more sex, which you both enjoy, just for the asking, then why wouldn’t you ask? I see nothing pathetic about saying “I like sex with you, let’s do it.” Honestly, I can’t think of any good reasons for not asking, and given he seems to enjoy it I’d say you are doing a good thing for both of you.
      I’d also say stop worrying about “how it looks”. It’s no one’s business other than your hubby, and his willingness and ability to have sex tells me he does not see it negatively.”
      I think your injuries and his injuries are clashing, causing both of you hurt and confusion. It’s certainly happening in plenty of places other than sex, but this one is obvious and rather easy to challenge.
      Bottom line: Skip the herbs and write notes!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Got Questions?My Profile

      • Thank you for the reply. I didn’t ask, so of course nothing happened. He calls me from work every day and tells me he loves me. That is a sweet thing to do. But I want to throw the phone because I don’t understand him. If he loves me so much, why does he hold out for so long? (Btw, porn is not an issue. I’m glad it’s not, but If it were at least I’d have an answer.)
        I can’t ask because I know if he really wanted to have sex, he’d ask me. I don’t want “pity sex” so I’m not going to ask. The problem is, I tell myself I’ll just hold out and wait for him. But he can hold out Waaaayyy longer. What does that tell us? That he is not attracted to me no matter what he says. And what makes even less sense is that he seems sad that I don’t feel attractive or worthy of his love or sex. But why is that a surprise? And why does he feel sad that I’m a realist? Would he rather I be delusional and feel loved? The whole thing is a mess. It’d be easier if he were a jerk, but he is the nicest guy. I just wish he loved me and enjoyed sex enough to initiate it like a normal man. We are going on six days with nothing, and it’s like he hasn’t even noticed.
        I’m not going to beg for something he obviously doesn’t want. If normal men desire their wives like crazy, there is obviously something wrong with me. I just wish he’d tell me what it is so I can change it.

        • @Me “if he really wanted to have sex, he’d ask me”
          While that sounds logical, it may be dead wrong. He could say the exact same thing about you, couldn’t he?
          Of course, when I say that you think you’re a woman and he’s a man so it’s different. There have been plenty of times I wanted sex but didn’t say anything. There were times I wanted it a whole lot and didn’t say anything. For me, that was usually about fear or pride. I talk to other men who don’t fear pity/mercy sex, those who don’t think they deserve sex as often as they want it, those who don’t want to be a bother, not having the energy to initiate, and so on and so on.

          Here’s a silly way to deal with this (might do a post on this, did it for TGH many years ago):

          Put a bowl somewhere – night table, dresser, bathroom, whatever. Next to it put six coins – 3 pennies and 3 dimes. You each show your sexual interest by putting coins in the bowl – him the pennies, you the dimes.

          0 coins = I’m not into sex right now.
          1 coins = I’m not real horny, but I’m willing.
          2 coins = I want sex.
          3 coins = I’m in a bad way

          You each consider the coins every time you see the bowl and change the number of your coins if you feel different. Anytime there are four or more coins, sex needs to be a high priority.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Fight Feelings With FactsMy Profile

        • @Me Have you ever considered that your constant refusal to believe your husband loves you and is attracted to you could be a key factor in his “low sex drive”? I’ve read many comments from you on this and other blogs where you say how great he is and how he treats you, but you won’t believe that he loves you. Wow! What a blow to his ego that must be. According to you, he’s been kind, loving, loyal and faithful to you for over 20 years, yet you refuse to believe he loves you. Not believing he finds you attractive is one thing, but flat out refusing to believe he loves you is something else entirely. He’s in a situation he can never win. No matter what he does to “prove it” to you, you won’t believe him. And, why should he have to constantly prove that he really loves you? After this long, it’s surprising he hasn’t quit trying. I can’t imagine how this must make him feel.

          You’ve also said you believe he settled for you. Again, that doesn’t speak well of what you think of him. Is something wrong with him that he’d have to settle? That’s the message you’re sending even if you don’t realize it. Poor guy can’t win for losing!

          You are looking for your husband to make you feel good about yourself. This is extremely unrealistic and unfair to him. It’s impossible, as you’ve already proven, and it’s not his job. You have to find a way to feel good about yourself. That will never be something your husband or anyone else can do for you.

          It’s painful to read how you feel about yourself, but I can’t help but feel really sorry for your husband. He chose you because he loves you and wants to spend his life with YOU! And, it sounds like he tries to demonstrate that to you everyday in spite of the fact that you dismiss it because he doesn’t do EVERYTHING YOU THINK HE SHOULD. Even if he did all the things you say you want, you’d find something else that he needed to do to prove his love because the real issue is how you feel about yourself.

          Before you dismiss my reply by telling me I don’t understand because I’m beautiful and I know it and I know my husband finds me attractive, here are some facts about me. I’m not physically attractive. I’m significantly overweight and would never win any beauty contests. My husband completely refused me sexually for 20+ years, and has used porn. Yet, despite all of that, I believe he loves me and is attracted to me. Even when our marriage was sexless, I still believed these things because I chose to focus on the things he did everyday to demonstrate his love. I also knew the likely causes of his refusal, so I chose to be happy in our marriage even though I longed for our sexual relationship to be restored.

          We chose which thoughts we dwell on and whether or not to reframe them in a more positive and truthful context. I pray that you can learn to focus your thoughts on truth about who you are rather than the lies you’ve been telling yourself for so long.

          • @K, thank you. Sincerely. You’ve given me much to think about.

            • @Me I hope you can learn to see yourself the way your husband does. You will continue to be in my prayers.

  4. Paul, a little tip that can help in some cases, but is not commonly known. I read this tip in a Reader’s Digest article about improving sleep. Night after night, DH and I used to wake each other up multiple times, adjusting the covers after inadvertently stealing them from each other in our sleep.

    As recommended by RD, I kept the king-size fitted sheet, but traded the single flat sheet and blanket for two sets of twin-size sheets and blankets. The bed is still topped off with a single comforter. No more tug-of-war at 1 a.m. It’s been working great for almost 10 years now.

    (p.s. The other thing that markedly improved my sleep quality was giving up grains and sugars. I used to be extremely groggy at my 7 a.m. alarm, now I usually wake up refreshed before 6 a.m.)

    • @T – Sounds like a good plan. Lori and I have a different solution – when we moved into the RV’s queen size bed we kept the king size flat and blanket. You have to steal a lot of covers to cause a problem.
      Food is an interesting thing, and it seems to be a very individual thing. Some folks can’t drink caffeine after noon; I can have a cup of regular coffee at bed time and sleep just fine. Certainly worth the trial and error approach to figure it out.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Got Questions?My Profile

    • Hubby and I buy king size bedding for our full size bed.

      Also, cutting out grains, sugars, legumes, chocolate, and dairy has improved the quality of my sleep.

  5. T, I keep a twin sheet and lap-robe size blanket next to the bed, so if he does pull all the covers, I just reach down and get my own. Your idea is good but my husband likes to roll himself up like a burrito in a large comforter. A twin size one wouldn’t do it.

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