My husband and I can’t seem to agree on beds.

We moved to North Carolina in 2008. We had a queen-sized Stearns & Foster mattress that was slowly turning into a taco. Every night, I slept in a saggy pocket of sadness.

We eventually had a conversation about the bed in 2010 or 2011. I don’t remember. Maybe it was 2012. I don’t know why it took so long, but we finally agreed to buy a new mattress. We went to Macy’s and bought a Serta innerspring bed.

No drama. No problems.

Then, about two years later, the bed began to crater. Slowly but surely, the mattress disintegrated. After all that time and energy spent getting to the place where we bought a new bed, it sucked to be back at the beginning.

And here’s the dumb thing: neither Ken nor I would talk about it. We never called Macy’s to complain and replace the mattress under the warranty. We just accepted it like cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

But I started running long-distance races, and my body was sore. It’s now early 2014. I finally told Ken that we needed a new bed. He was like — yes, totally, I agree.

We were in complete alignment. Who knew?!

We bought a bed from Tuft & Needle, which was too mushy. Then we bought a Saatva, which killed my back. I’ll own that one. I cannot sleep on that mattress. Then we bought another queen bed from Macy’s. My memory is cloudy on this one, but we worked with a kid named Coby. He wanted to tell us all about the mattress industry.

I was like — no offense, Coby. We’re pros.

Turns out we’re not pros. We hated that mattress.

Now it’s late 2015. Out of nowhere, Ken decided that we needed a king-sized mattress. It was a very good idea, but we owned a queen-size Stickley frame. That’s when he made an epic Black Friday sales call to a furniture dealer in High Point, NC. We became the proud owner of the same Stickley frame but in a larger size.

(My old, queen-size Stickley Spindle Bed is on Chairish.)

So then we went back to Macy’s in December 2015 and chatted with our buddy Coby. We bought a Stearns & Foster king bed. And you know how the story goes. We returned that new king mattress because of a million stupid reasons.

(I know. I know. Jesus.)

Now it’s March 2016. We finally went to Sleepy’s and bought a firm bed. No cush. No ploof. Not messing around. The salesperson tried to sell us a zero-gravity bed, whatever the hell that is, which I promptly dismissed with my world-famous “Laurie face.”

As we were leaving the store, the salesperson told me that I hurt her feelings with my face.

That’s a first.

The good news is that the new bed is fine. It’s better than fine, actually. We have plenty of space for the cats, and everybody gets a good night’s rest. My back isn’t sore.

Why the hell am I telling you this epic story of failure? Well, relationships suffer from a ton of micro-failures on a daily basis. My story of the bed is a pretty obvious indicator that Ken and I are conflict-avoidant — even when the stakes are low.

But this adventure has changed our marriage in good ways. It has pushed us to embrace failure and make fun of ourselves. Our friends keep asking for bed updates. People who know us make fun of us. We’re probably on the Macy’s watchlist. We are so deeply enmeshed in failure that we can’t do anything but own our drama and laugh about it.


So go ahead and try owning your failures, today. Laugh about it. Make it no big deal. Tell your failure story to someone. I promise you that your micro-failures aren’t as awful as they seem.

And wish us luck with bed number six! (Wait, did I count correctly? Seven? Sheesh.)


  1. We also bought a new king at Sleepy’s a year ago. My bride and I and the Corgis all love it. Mattresses make a lot of difference in a relationship. Waking up cranky isn’t a good thing.

  2. We have been there! Several years ago, we needed a new bed, shopped our hearts out, and decided on a pillow-top mattress. His mother told me that he would say he hated it because he hates change and to just be super positive…. it took a hike to the top of Mt LeConte and better sleep up there for me to break down and tell him I hated the mattress too. I felt suffocated by the pillow top, I fell out more than once because there was no sense of where it ended. Not being open about the misery after my back declared we needed a new bed was such a fail, but a laughable one now. BUT it’s about time for a new bed, and I get a stomach ache thinking about it.

  3. I’m happy that you have found a bed that you can be happy with… but, for how long?

    My wife and I were also itinerant bedders: mattress followed mattress into our collective past as we tried and failed to find our cinderella, our “one mattress to rule them all”! Until that day, almost ten years ago, when we purchased a sleep number bed.

    To paraphrase the immortal words of that guy in “The Graduate”, I have one word for you: “bliss”

    Too soft, too firm, just push the button…
    Had a tough workout day… just push the button…
    Need a little more lovin’… just push the button…

    It truly is a bed for the pampered 21st century future-loving hedonist in all of us (at least until they invent anti-gravity float chambers)

    AND, it gets better! The ultimate in sybaritic delight is a sleep number bed with a memory foam mattress topper. OMG!

  4. I think I have a similar version of the “Laurie face” but it’s called the “Dawn Face”. I only realized it when my husband was telling people that you don’t want to deal with me when I am car shopping and haggling for a good price. I learned a TON about haggling when we bought our last car. And it gave me power. Apparently, the Dawn Face comes out and sales people recoil in horror. If only…at least when it comes to buying cars.

    Our mattress story consists of my husband testing the mattress at the store and saying it was too firm. I prefer firm – better for my back. So I compromised and got the middle of the road, not too soft, not too hard (sheesh this could be the 3 Bears story). We got the mattress home and my husband declares it was too soft. Sigh…We still have it 5 years later.

  5. I’m so done with Macy’s. Every bed I’ve ever bought there has turned into an enemy within 2 years. I finally bought a Casper and it’s the cheapest priced yet most well made and comfortable bed ever. Figures.

  6. Sleep number bed replaced the kept for too long (ahem) water bed. Now, happily ever after.

    Now thinking about one for the RV. Getting the to the current one took its own two decades.

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