Romantic relationships are wonderful\u2014without my husband, I\u2019d be adrift, lonely, and decidedly unhappy\u2014but that doesn\u2019t mean marriage isn\u2019t hard. I\u2019m very proud of my relationship but that pride as much the result of hard work, compromising, and talking things out, as it is a result of the innate chemistry between the two of us. After ten years, I think the compromising and talking is even more important. And I\u2019ve noticed, without fail, when one of us is sleep deprived, compromising and talking gets a whole lot harder. As much as we love each other, as committed as we are, we\u2019ve had some truly difficult times. Almost all of them have involved a lack of sleep. As it happens, a new study has shows that relationship quality is directly affected by quality of sleep, and vice versa.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Chicken and The Egg.\r\n\r\nIf you sleep poorly, you\u2019re more likely to fight with your partner. If you fight with your partner, you\u2019re more likely to sleep poorly. It\u2019s the makings of a vicious cycle, one many couples fall victim to every day. Eventually, this cycle ends in reconciliation, or in breakups and divorce. This study looked at 29 heterosexual, co-sleeping couples who did not have children. The trick is, sleep tends to occur when an individual feels calm, safe, and able to down-regulate vigilance and alertness. If you\u2019re in the middle of a fight with your spouse, you aren\u2019t likely to feel these feelings.\r\n\r\nThe Statistics\r\n\r\nA full 45-50% of first marriages end in divorce. That\u2019s a staggering statistic. Of course, it\u2019s impossible to conduct a scientific test to determine what role a lack of sleep may have played in these divorces. But, considering these recent findings, I think it\u2019s safe to assume sleeplessness didn\u2019t help.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEmbrace the Idea of Separate Beds\r\n\r\nOne way to help reinforce marital harmony is to have your own bed (a natural latex mattress that\u2019s incredibly comfortable won\u2019t hurt either). Many couples shy away from the idea of separate beds because of the social stigma. They think it means they\u2019re relationship is in trouble or that they aren\u2019t trying hard enough to co-sleep. This couldn\u2019t be further from the truth. Studies show that couples experience 50% more sleep disturbances if they share a bed. And, as we\u2019ve seen, if you sleep better, your relationship will see the dividends.\r\n\r\nCouples Therapy\r\n\r\nIf you can\u2019t stand the idea of a separate bed, couples therapy may help you confront the relationship problems that are contributing to your lack of sleep. If those get better, your sleep will get better, and better sleep means less stress, more patience, and a better marriage.