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My wife was convinced that all of our marital troubles began in bed, so to speak. She was concerned about performance and performance enhancement. Things weren’t, how do I put this delicately?— firm enough. “It’s too soft,” she kept saying all the time.

She went to bed unsatisfied. She woke up in the morning unsatisfied. She was becoming irritable. I was insensitive to her needs, or so I was told. My wife wanted to try new things in bed!

No, this is not what you think. My wife wanted a new mattress.

I was glad to learn that our mattress was to blame because in my marriage I am usually to blame. Let the mattress take the hit for once.

In truth, the old mattress was just fine with me. But then as a man ages, his mattress needs apparently decrease, if you know what I mean. You’re not 20 years old any more, big boy. A lot of men would be embarrassed about this. But I feel like Bob Dole. I am completely comfortable discussing our mattress needs with total strangers. I find it empowering. That’s right. I am talking about MD— mattress dysfunction.

Look, I am not going to hold back here. My wife is a tigress in bed. Sleeping with her is like sleeping with The Rockettes. There’s kicking. There’s thrashing. You have to be careful not to catch a knee in the groin. Sometimes, she runs in place. Other times, folk dancing. As I understand it, it’s a sleep disorder. She blames the mattress.

I sleep like a zombie. You can fire a Lyle gun next to my head whilst I am in the arms of Morpheus. I can sleep on a Southwest Airlines flight! I believe that’s the standard used by sleep clinicians now. If you can sleep on a Southwest Airlines flight, you can sleep anywhere. That’s just short of sleeping standing up in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

I feel about sleep the way Sancho Panza did. I say “blessings on he who first invented sleep.” I sleep soundly. My wife says so. She hates that. She often wakes me to report that she cannot sleep. I say that I am sorry to hear that and then I go right back to sleep. She hates that, too. I think it’s my clear conscience. I live by the Golden Rule— do unto others before they can do unto you. (That’s one Golden Rule.) I sleep like a personal injury lawyer. Deep. Satisfying. Sleep. Knowing that on the morrow I will rise to do the work of the Lord. Amen.

But my wife wanted a new mattress. She is not an impulse shopper when it comes to a capital investment like a good night’s sleep. She went online. She read Consumer Reports like a talmudic scholar. She did a Nexis search. And for good measure she did what she always does— she asked her friends. Then, off to Sleepy’s we went.

With more than 600 convenient locations, it’s easy to find a Sleepy’s. We found one on Joppa Road, the fertile crescent of such enterprises. The signs said: “No money down! No interest until May 2012! Take up to 48 Months To Pay!”

I’d hoped that it would be a quick transaction. Alas, you can’t walk into Sleepy’s and just buy a mattress. No. You have to have your back analyzed by “mattress professionals.” Postur-Pedicologists! Serta-fied experts! Sealyists! Simmonsologists!

These people have spent a lifetime studying the mysteries of the human back. OK, maybe not a lifetime, maybe a few days. But they seem knowledgeable. They bring to their craft all of the skills of a good chiropractor (if there is such a thing) and the salesman of the month at Bob Bell’s. Scott Donohue meets the Yalich Clinic. They know backs and they know mattresses. (And I think they can spot a couple with mattress problems.)

They do the professional analysis of your back right on site— even before you are allowed to stretch out on one of their state-of-the-art pallets. I checked off a few items on the “postural alignment spectrum,” whatever the hell that is. Like I told the man, I got no sleep problems, chief. The “mattress professional” was rankled that I did not take “Body Diagnostics” seriously. But I am still not sure what they were looking for.

Naturally, my wife spent 20 minutes working on her analysis. She tests well. I’ve got the printout right here in front of me. Can’t tell what any of it means though I know it has something to do with “the spine” and so-called “pressure points.”

According to our professional analyses, my back is pretty much your common, garden-variety, off the rack, back. My wife, on the other hand, has a complex back. A special back. Her back is very, very rare. On the “postural alignment spectrum,” we are in a very unusual zone.

That’s the problem. Our backs are not compatible. And they never will be. After all these years, to finally learn this from a total stranger on Joppa Road on a rainy Sunday. It gives one pause.

And yes, we did buy a new mattress but I am not going to tell you about it because that would be just too private.

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