Separate Bathrooms Might Help Resolve Marital Tension

Helen Storms - Author

Oct. 23 2018, Updated 11:20 p.m. ET

Celebrities and politicians alike are giving away their secret to happy marriages, and their suggestion is surprisingly simple. According to Today, Michelle Obama, Michael Caine, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Joan Collins have all mentioned one tip that has helped them maintain happy marriages. They have separate bathrooms for their spouse and themselves.

Many may laugh at the idea that separate bathrooms could really help that much in reducing marital tension. Of course, this might make sense if you live the high-paced, demanding lives of the Obamas, but what about the average married couple? Licensed marriage and family therapist Laura Petiford gave Today some insight on why it has proven to be beneficial for many couples.

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Separate bathrooms help establish a sense of equality, something that is hopefully carried out on a deeper level in the marriage itself. It also allows each person a place of their own in which they can experience total privacy. Petiford claims this can potentially help preserve a sense of mystery in a marriage. However, whether or not separate bathrooms are a good idea for you and your spouse depends on your particular marriage.

“We’re all seeking sound bites of sage wisdom about what works in a relationship,” Petiford told Today. “The reality is it’s always more contextual, much deeper and highly reliant on what’s important to those particular people.”

Couples are encouraged to think about what particular areas of the home seem to be a place where the most tension takes place. Perhaps you and your spouse find yourself snapping at each other while you both share the bathroom to get ready for work in the morning. This is one situation that could be alleviated through the use of separate bathrooms.

Petiford notes, however, that this setup might not be ideal or even possible for every couple.

“There are no shortcuts (to maintaining a long, happy relationship),” said Petiford. “We’re always looking for them: Tell me what the secret is! But the bottom line is that relationships are hard work. Hard work, and a lot of communication — no matter how many bathrooms you have.”

This level of communication is essential in every relationship, even when pertaining to bathroom habits. Petiford stresses that it is best to just be honest with your partner in regard to your bathroom routine. If one person requires more time getting ready in the morning than the other, the couple could consider working out a schedule to prevent them needing to use the bathroom at the same time. This can allow them each to get ready without bumping heads, likely reducing tension as they start their day.


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