The bedroom is the place where you have your most intimate moments and also a place where you need to be your most comfortable and relaxed. Sometimes our personal habits can put us at odds with our spouse, interfering with sleep and relaxation, as well as intimacy.
These etiquette tips will help keep your shared space a retreat where you can relax and unwind together.
1. Compromise on the thermostat. You like the room so cool at night that you can see your breath; he spends night after night shivering. Come up with a compromise you can both live with—try to be as flexible as you can with the temperature. Add a comfy blanket to his side of the bed so he can stay warm.
2. Say goodbye to snoring. If snoring regularly drives one of you from the bed, get it checked out. There could be a health reason behind it, such as sleep apnea. For occasional snorers, the solution may be a gentle but firm nudge that jolts them just enough to roll over and stop sawing logs. If the snoring is particularly bad, it's up to the offending snorer to go to the guest room, not the snoring "victim." It's also wise to purchase a good pair of comfortable ear plugs and sleep soundly.
3. Invest in some decent nightwear. It's worth investing in some sleep clothes that are comfortable while sending a message that you still care how you look in front of your spouse. You don't have to sleep in itchy, constricting lingerie, but get some nighties or pajamas that look and feel good to both of you.
4. Let there be light. So you are a read-in-bed type and your spouse requires total darkness to nod off? Compromise is key. Give her that five-more-minutes of reading time if you can; if he has a big meeting in the morning and has to get up early, turn off the lamp or go read that juicy novel on the couch. Better yet, invest in a sleeping mask, a book light, or a lighted e-reader to allow for reading in the dark. On another note, don't be the spouse that falls asleep in a brightly lit room in front of a blaring TV, then complains once in bed that your spouse's nightstand lamp is keeping you awake.
5. Respect your partner's cuddle comfort zone. Some people want to sleep curled up next to their spouse all night long. Some create a pillow barricade to prevent the occasional arm or leg from flopping over them. Wherever your spouse falls on the cuddle meter, meet them there—at least for a little bit. That's not to say you have to spoon all night with your snuggle-bunny spouse if you are a hands-off sleeper. But do cuddle at least a little bit before rolling over to the edge of the bed.
6. Make the room a retreat from the world. Comfortable bed linens, a few candles, even a subtle hint of aromatherapy scents, such as lavender or vanilla will help create a soothing environment. Keep the room free of TV, video games, and other noisy distractions that make it hard to create a restful oasis. Keeping your socks and underwear off the floor improves the atmosphere as well.
7. Avoid alarming wake-ups. Is she an early bird and you are a late sleeper? Make the earliest alarm as quiet as possible while still being effective; consider setting the radio to go off at a low volume instead of a blaring alarm that will wake you, your spouse and the neighbors too. If you're the early bird, make sure your clothes are laid out and accessible so you won't wake your spouse with a bright closet light and the sounds of you rifling through your dresser drawers to find matching socks.
The bedroom offers multiple opportunities to show your spouse courtesy and thoughtfulness. The harmony you create in the bedroom will spill over into other areas of your relationship, so focus on making it a haven for both you.
Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.dianegottsman.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @: www.twitter.com/DianeGottsman.