Mary and Joseph questions (for writing)

I’ve tried to research it myself, but couldn’t find anything, and thought I would just ask here. I know it may not be known, but I just always think there might be a possibility on this board that someone might.
Is it known or speculated whether or not Mary and Joseph would have slept in the same bed? And I mean only to sleep, as I know they were never intimate, yet could they have slept together at night in the same bed?
And…Did the other women in Nazareth, such as other women Mary knew, other wives and mothers, know Mary and Joseph were special and that Jesus was not Joseph’s son? Would it have been known around Nazareth that Mary, though married, was a virgin, and that her son was special, at the time when He was growing up? Or did Mary’s and Joseph’s fellow Nazarenes, friends, etc. just think they were a regular family, and that Jesus was their boy?
I’m only asking such questions because it would help with my writing, and I’m in the middle of planning out a deep story of Mary’s wife and motherhood.
Again, I realize these things simply might not be known, but I just wondered if they could at least be speculated. I’ve asked questions before for the benefit of my writing, and have always found it to be helpful. Thank you in advance for any thoughts, insight. :slight_smile:

All of these are likely not something you’ll find in scripture of any sort. There are no intimations about those details of their lives. There are books though that claim ‘private revelation’ to what their life was like.

This one is rather interesting, though I find myself not believing a great deal of it. It makes ofr a good story though.

The Life of Mary as seen by the Mystics

I haven’t read any of the so-called Gnostic writings of the Biblical era, but, if you were to run across those, you should know that they are not considered inspired or historical by the Church.

I’m not sure what you gain by, as you say, speculating, on the sleeping arrangements. The gospels provide no information. It is hard for me to imagine any value in such speculation, except that which would be negative value, misleading at best.

This book might answer some of your questions:

I’m re-reading it. I haven’t come across any answers to your questions yet, but if I do, I will let you know.

It is all guesswork; if God never saw fit to let us know such intimate details, then we just won’t know.


GEddie is right. If it is speculation, well then, that makes it something of a nove/fantasyl. I really don’t care to know. Peace.

Just to something funny. I was hacked and worked my way around it, but have jumped back to my org. user name from 2011!

The only bits of information we have about Mary and Joseph (and we can’t be sure it’s accurate) are the handful of times they are mentioned in Christian canon…and the sleeping arrangements aren’t mentioned.

But…judging by that one scene in the Christian bible where the townfolk and his family think Jesus is “out of his mind” and wonder what the “carpenter’s son” is up to…it doesn’t sound like anyone at that time in his hometown thought he was special in any way.


I think the first question to answer is: What was the common sleeping practice in the time and culture?

I believe the answers could range from: Everyone slept in separate beds (and would only visit one or the other for conjugal relations*, but not for “sleeping”); to: A married couple typically slept in a common bed with all the privacy westerners today would expect; to: Families slept in a common bed and/or room, and conjugal relations* were a much less private thing; to: other scenarios I have failed to consider?

(* Not, of course, in the case of Mary and Joseph)


The visionaries, especially ones that have the approbation of the Church, like the ones in the book suggested by bmullins, are very worthwhile. You may give them human faith, even though they are not considered revelation.

IOW, because the authors are holy women, who have written lives that have been scrutinized by the Church for any doctrinal or Scriptural errors, and who may have been given this information for the pious reading of Catholics by the Virgin Mary herself, whom we know visits certain people from time to time, it seems to me that it is the safest and truest form of human “conjecture.”

Jewish men and women didn’t usually sleep together on the same sleeping mat when the women were menstruating. Sometimes Jewish women didn’t even stay in the same building, although there’s no reason to believe that a normal guy like Joseph (even though he was described as “righteous”) would have gone that far. Women just had their own stuff for “that time of the month,” and so it wouldn’t seem strange to the rest of the village for Mary to have her own mat all the time.

While a woman was menstruating, anybody who came into contact with her, or with a place where she sat, or with her bed, would become ritually impure and have to wash their clothes and bathe themselves. (A husband having sex with a menstruating woman would become ritually impure for seven days and have his activities restricted, with additional problems if he was a priest. So it could be done but was discouraged.) So usually there was a marital rhythm of “coming together” some of the time, as St. Paul says it, and then of not being together at other times.

So what with Joseph and Mary having no intention of sleeping together, and Mary being basically the Ark of the Covenant? No, Mary and Joseph probably didn’t sleep on the same mat. It wouldn’t have been prudent, and there wasn’t any particular reason or advantage. It wasn’t Northern Europe. They probably just followed the same “niddah” protocols that they would have followed for two weeks a month in a normal marriage.

And now I have grossed out all the guys… Sorry, guys.

I guess the really interesting question would be if Joseph were one of those Nazirite guys who took a vow, like Samson.

The book I mentioned earlier (‘The Life of St. Joseph’) says that Mary and Joseph had separate rooms.

Thanks for all of the insight. I’ve found them to be interesting to read and helpful, as usual.:slight_smile:

I found that book to be especially good and pious! :thumbsup:

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