Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Married Couple Sleeps in Separate Rooms

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I no longer sleep in the same room. It all started when the air conditioner broke in our bedroom. It was so hot that I couldn’t sleep in there. Now I have been sleeping in the living room for several months -- and I like it. No snoring. No interruptions. Everything else is pretty much the same, except for where we lay our heads. Does it seem odd that I like being in the other room better? Do you think this is a sign of trouble in our marriage? -- Sleeping Arrangements, Boston

DEAR SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS: I think you and your husband should talk about it. Patterns emerge and change over the years in marriages. When something as significant as where you sleep changes, it is wise for you to check in to see how you both feel about it.

I know a couple who were married almost 50 years. For at least 20 of them, they had separate bedrooms. The wife once told me that the way they continued to have intimacy well into their 70s was by planning once-a-month trysts that were romantic and tender. On those evenings, they stayed in the same room.

DEAR HARRIETTE: For years I was extremely active in my church. I taught Sunday school when my kids were little. I sang in the choir every Sunday for decades. Now, my kids are grown, and I am tired. I don’t go to church as much as I used to, even though I do continue to tithe. My workload is heavy, and I often rest on Sunday mornings. I tend to go to church for special occasions and for Communion.

I feel comfortable with my new attendance schedule, but whenever I show up, somebody has a wisecrack to make. Most of those people never put in the kind of time that I did over the years. How do I handle the criticism? -- Tired Churchgoer, San Diego

DEAR TIRED CHURCHGOER: Clearly you have served for years at your church. This is great and should make you happy. The discipline of being part of your church community was important to you for a long time, especially when your children were growing up. That you now have established a less-rigorous rhythm is OK. What’s most important is for you to check in with yourself. Do you feel spiritually whole? Are you receiving the support you need to fortify that part of your life? If you are at peace with your new schedule, ignore the parishioners who criticize you. There will always be people who have opinions. Just make sure that you are following a path that supports your heart and soul.

If you feel like you want to respond to any of these people, you can simply say that you feel good about your new schedule. You remain an active member of the community and a monthly tither. You can add that you believe it’s time for others to step in and do some of the things that you once managed. In a community, everybody should share the workload. Encourage them to step up and do more.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)