There are a myriad of forces that drive married couples apart, but the most dangerous of these can be the ones that we casually dismiss as trivial. For example, snoring. It is one of my most deeply held beliefs that snoring is an unwritten part of Eve’s curse for eating of the forbidden fruit. I’m sure that passage of the Bible was intended to read like this:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.
Though your children sleep through the night,
Still you will have no rest.
For your husband will shake the rafters of your household with his snoring,
and you shall never sleep again.”
As with any of the trials that may inflict our marriages, snoring can build up resentment over time. If you want to save your marriage, it’s important to tackle this issue head-on before the resentment overflows into other areas of your relationship. While the most obvious solution is asphyxiation of the offending party, I strongly caution against this as it rarely ends well for either person.
But don’t despair. I have an alternative 4-step plan to help you and your spouse get through this rough patch in one piece.
Step 1: The Gentle Nudge
- What to do: When your spouse starts snoring, the first step is to carefully execute the “gentle nudge”. Everyone is different, and you’ll need to calibrate the nudge to the specific needs of your spouse. You might start out by giving their shoulder a light push with the palm of your hand. If this is ineffective, you may escalate by increments, up to and including a swift jab into the midsection with your elbow. Just beware that this can inadvertently lead to your spouse waking. Studies have shown that spouses who are awakened in this manner tend to be inexplicably annoyed and accusatory, so it is often best to assume the position of “sleeping soundly” immediately upon execution.
- Why it’s effective: The gentle nudge will bring your spouse to the verge of waking, interrupting the sleep cycle, and thereby resetting the deep-breathing mechanism. Even if snoring resumes shortly thereafter, Step 1 is a good way to get a few solid seconds of golden silence.
Step 2: The Roll Over
- What to do: In the event that Step 1 is unsuccessful, proceed to Step 2: The Roll Over. If your spouse is laying on his back, gently lift the shoulder nearest to you and push until he rolls onto his side. This step involves some more advanced maneuvers than step one, but don’t despair if you accidentally push him off the bed on your first try. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. But as mentioned above, it is always safest to assume a position of “sleeping soundly” upon execution of step 2.
- Why it’s effective: The roll over will reorient your spouse’s nasal cavities with regard to gravity. While this often does not eliminate snoring all together, it does make the sound somewhat lighter and more bearable.
Step 3: The Breathe Right Strips
- What to do: If you are not satisfied with the reprieve achieved in Steps 1 & 2, move on to Step 3: The Breath Right Strips. These little wonders of the world can be bought at your local pharmacy. Simply wait until your spouse is in a deep sleep, remove the strip from its packaging, and place it on his nose. It is important to understand that your spouse will most likely wake up believing that you intend to suffocate him after all. Just proceed as before, and calm him with gentle reassurances.
- Why it’s effective: The Breath Right Strips pull away the upper walls of the nasal cavity, minimizing the reverberations of your spouse’s snoring. Again, it may not eliminate the sound altogether, but it does tend to make it more muted.
Step 4: The Couch
- What to do: In the event that you’re still dissatisfied with the noise level in your bedroom, invest in a comfortable couch for another area of the house. It can be very tricky trying to convince your spouse to sleep on said couch. One tactic is to convince him to watch a heartfelt chick-flick with you. Once he has fallen asleep, you can sneak away to the bedroom and enjoy some uninterrupted sleep.
- Why it’s effective: While there are some snorers who can undoubtedly be heard throughout the house, the sound is undeniably more tolerable the farther away it is. In the event that you can’t get your spouse to sleep on the couch, it can also become your refuge when you need some peace and quiet at night.
Snoring is a bitter curse, but I believe that with these 4 steps, your marriage can survive it. Good luck, and goodnight.