I hate to admit this, especially as someone who is a big opponent of doing this, but I have slept on the couch many nights in our home. And if you asked my wife, she has done so as well. The nights I slept on the couch wasn’t because she made me, it was by choice. The same for her.
While we understand this is not a wise choice in marriage, we still allowed ourselves to get so angry with each other, that we viewed the other person as the enemy. While I hope this hasn’t happened in your marriage, the likelihood is that it has — perhaps more than once. Here are the reasons a spouse ends up sleeping on the couch and how to avoid it.
You have not connected
When we become disconnected it’s easier to remain disconnected.When my wife and I are connecting, there is no way I want to be apart from her. I do whatever it takes to spend more time with her — that could be turning off the game, not working late, and definitely not sleeping on the couch. But when we aren’t connecting, it’s easier to let other things get in between us. When we become disconnected it’s easier to remain disconnected.
I’ve found three things that are completely in my control to help me better and more consistently connect with my wife: 1) go to bed at the same time each night, 2) block out at least 15 minutes per day for just her and I, and 3) pray for her every day and pray with her. If you do those things you can eliminate the connection problem in your marriage.
Your emotions (anger) are running things
Typically, when I decide to sleep on the couch, there is some seed of anger in my heart. My emotions have gotten the best of me allowing anger to run things. Sleeping on the couch is a decision that I always regret later. Once you choose the couch — you’ve chosen the couch over your wife, and very little good comes of it.
When your emotions are beginning to get the best of you there is a tendency to jumble facts and opinions. Emotions have a way of convincing you that certain things are true, when, in fact, they are false. You may doubt your wife’s love for you. You may believe your marriage will always be like this. Or you may think that your wife doesn’t have your best interest in mind. You cannot redefine truth based on your feelings. So, when it creeps in, remind yourself that while your wife is not perfect she still loves you, you love her, and together you can work out the challenges you are facing.
You are focusing on you, not her
The bottom line is the times I’ve chosen the couch, I was being very selfish. My focus was on me and what I wanted, or didn’t want. It wasn’t about serving her despite my disappointment and hurt feelings. Even if she is just as mad at you, you sleeping on the couch is hurtful to her. When you focus on her, and not you, you avoid to the best of your ability doing things that will hurt her. Sleeping on the couch is a conscious choice. I want to encourage you to consciously focus on your wife, serving her, and loving her despite what has happened between the two of you.
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What’s one way I can communicate better?”