I am not a marriage counsellor, nor do I pretend to be, but every day I receive emails from parents all over the world telling me how I have saved their marriage…how could I, a sleep consultant do that? Lets go back and I will tell you all about it.
These letters of thanks, mainly come from mothers, sometimes fathers, who say they were spending no time together, were fighting all night, felt emotionally drained & were absolutely at the end of their rope. The common theme in all these letters that seems to be the root of all the martial angst: lack of SLEEP. But how can the lack of sleep be ruining your marriage? The question I wish to ask is why isn’t anyone talking about this?
We all know all to well that marriage takes work, and lots of it. To feel happy in our relationships we need to feel supported and nurtured. We need to make time to connect on every level, from the emotional to physical. We also know how quickly we can start to disconnect from our spouse in certain circumstances. Sadly, this disconnect starts chipping away at the very foundations of the marriage until there doesn’t seem to be much more to fight for.
Sadly, in recent census about marriage, shows stats that the average marriage lasts eight years before ending in divorce. During this time, couples often experience many stressful events that can put a strain on marriage. They may move to larger houses, take on more debt, start new careers and, of course…HAVE CHILDREN. Add months or years of interrupted sleep to all this and you have a recipe for disaster!
Often during my seminars & consultations I ask parents (mostly 95% mothers attend these) how they feel when they are tired. The responses are usually similar. They feel grumpy, depressed & emotional. They overreact, they argue, they don’t eat properly. Mothers feel overwhelmed by the demands from the children & spouse. They feel burnt out, helpless, scatterbrained. One mother actually shared with me that she was that exhausted one morning that she put the toaster in the fridge & didn’t notice until she went to make toast the next day!
Dealing with a baby or toddler several times in the night often leads to feelings of resentment for mothers, not necessarily towards their children but more towards their spouse. One mother said, “ I don’t get angry at the baby, but I sure let me husband have it the minute he walks in the door!” At 3am, arguments often ensure about whose job is more important the next day. Yes, da has to work, but stay -at-home mothers have to get up and deal with children all day, which is definitely an equally demanding profession. One mother told me that after the sixth wake-up one night, she walked into her husband’s “bedroom” and screamed at the top of her lungs that he should get out of bed and deal with his child or she was moving out!
To be fair to fathers, they don’t always know how to they can help. It’s a helpless and frustrating feeling for many fathers to try repeatedly to put their children to sleep only to fail time and time again. Often the mother will eventually walk into the room and take over once she see that her partner is unsuccessful, which only leads to more frustration for both parties.
I regularly see couples (and in fact did this myself with my first 2 children 22 years ago) I shared my bed with them. Not by choice, but out of sheer desperation. I call this “co-sleeping out of necessity,” meaning that co-sleeping was not their first choice but it seemed like it was the only way anyone could get more than a few hours of rest. What this often leads to is mom and baby in one bed and dad in another. One couple I saw had not shared a bed in eight years! One parent slept with the older child, while the other slept with the younger. Tell me how that can be good for a marriage!
There is no denying that sharing a bed with your spouse is a crucial ingredient to a healthy relationship. Not just for sex, but for that deep intimacy that comes in the night when you reach out for your partner and they are there. It’s the pillow talk you have before falling asleep that can be the one time of day that couples can share their thoughts, feelings and dreams. Even if its just to talk about the cute things the children did that day, its still a connection. That is pretty hard to do when there is a sleeping baby in someone’s arms. The mere thought of accidentally waking that baby that you just took an hour of rocking to get to sleep so scares most parents that they wouldn’t even dream of striking up a conversation. Then there is the constant movement and restlessness of most children that usually drives one parent from the bed somewhere in the night. Even if its means sleeping in the toddler bed, its usually a preferred option to the having a tiny foot in your face all night.
Do all this for months, even years and its no surprise that a marriage would start to disintegrate fast. In my opinion one of the most important things I can give to my children, besides a good night’s sleep, is a healthy and well-functioning marriage. I want them to see how couple who love each other act toward one another. I want them to see that we make time for each other and nurture the relationships that matter the most to us. They need to see how all family members’ needs are important, not just their own.
I want them to see all this so they will go out into the world and find these things for themselves and eventually model the same for their children. But I can’t do this if I am exhausted. I can’t do this if the only thing I care about at the end of the day is going to sleep for a few hours. I can’t do this if my children are by my side twenty-four hours a day. I can’t do this if I resent my husband because he won’t or can’t help me in the night. I can’t do this if every day the only thing I can think about is getting my child to sleep more.
The real challenge is that the issue is simply not being discussed! Couples are ashamed that their marriages are falling apart for no better reason than simple lack of sleep. I deeply & passionately believe that by shining a spotlight on this issue we can make a dramatic and important difference in the lives of millions of people.
As you can see, its not just a matter of “wanting to get a better night’s sleep”; the issues goes much deeper than that. Its about creating a healthy and nurturing environment for each and every family member. Its about feeling better about your job as a parent, and about having extra energy and time to stay connected to yourself and your spouse.
No one could live on a diet of only bread and water. You might be able to do it for a few weeks, maybe even months if you were really committed, but eventually you are going to start to feel depleted, resentful, unhealthy, and bored. The same can be said for telling a parent that their sleepless nights are just something that they are just something that they are going to have to “just live with.” How can that be the best thing for a baby? How can a mother /father live their best life on a diet of bread & water?
It is for this reason why I know that the career choice I have made in my commitment to sleep & helping families be the best they can be has been one of the most rewarding decision of my life. I have lost count of the number of mothers who tell me how thankful they are for my guidance and support… how she could have never done this without me.. how its changed her entire life and how its given her back herself and given her back time with her partner. Its always so wonderful to hear how something so seemingly “small” as getting a restful sleep night after night has had such a profound impact on overall happiness.
I know personally also how much a difference it can make to the family. I know that this program works not only by promoting good sleep which in turns ensure children and baby development is exactly where its supposed to be but also it ensures the family environment is surrounded by love & nurturing 24/7 giving the child the secure and stable environment they need to thrive. At the end of the day that is what every parent’s wishes for more than anything else, a thriving stable loved child surrounded by love which it sees and feels daily.
I can help your family reach this place, with my own personal story I can relate completely to where you are right now and I know that the situation with sleep can help remove a lot of the strain that is felt by everyone. When this is resolved the feeling of darkness and resentment is lifted to love & passion for each other and it’s the best feeling in the world to watch those you love blossom in front of you.
For your own family, I am offering a FREE 15 min sleep evaluation call where we can discuss in further detail how I can help your family stop the rot of sleepless night for killing your marriage and allow the love for each other bloom again. To book your call please click on the link below which will take you to my online availability calendar to allow us to start chatting about your own personal story and how I can help you with your families sleep.