He’s mad. She’s mad. He yells. She rebels. He decides to call it a night. She demands they stay up and finish the fight. None of us is unfamiliar with the best marital advice this side of a divorce. Drum roll please… “Never go to bed angry!” It’s said that if we don’t hash through a disagreement before our head hits the pillow at night, it’ll lead to resentment and ultimately dismantle our relationship. Well, I don’t know about the rest of the married world…but if I had to resolve every marital argument before going to sleep at night, I’d quickly resemble a zombie from the Thriller video. And on that laughably inadequate amount of sleep, I’d be much less passive…think cross between “Zombieland” and “NightBitch On Elm Street.” Yeah, this is what happens when I “Never sleep again.” 🙂 But it turns out sleep-deprived fight nights and groggy dark circle-eyed days don’t pave the spit-swapping way to make up sex. So, in the event of a night brawl, should we stay awake and duke it out…or put our head to pillow while we internally shout? Is “never go to bed angry” sound advice?
Psychologists say NO…it’s a myth. They say couples are afraid of fighting…when, in fact, fighting (in moderation) is a sign of a healthy marriage. We all fight. It’s inevitable. Spending minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day with the same person WILL lead to disagreement from time to time…unless you’re a deaf-mute…and even then the sight of their annoying breathing pattern may eventually tip your tolerance scale. We coexist, therefore, we fight. 😉 Sometimes over our passionately differing viewpoints…and sometimes over mundane little details of our deceptively delightful days. Whatever we’re sparring over, experts say the fact that we’re sparring at all is a good sign. It means we’re comfortable enough with ourselves, AND with our partners, to disagree. That we won’t go along with whatever the other says just to avoid an argument. They say it’s THIS bobble-headed “whatever you say” attitude that leads the bobbler to, one day, tire of nodding his head and leave the marital bed. So, go ahead…speak up!
If you do speak up one late night opportune moment, emotions are running high, and the argument is going nowhere…pushing the issue while both partners are emotionally and physically drained will be more harmful and counterproductive than going to bed while angry. When we’re exhausted and seething furiously, the last thing we want to do is LISTEN. And just as important as sharing our opinion is LISTENING to that of our partner. Listen, share, listen, share…compromise OR agree to disagree and move on. But none are likely to happen in the middle of a war with lots of ammunition and little rational thought. We’ll just keep hitting lower and lower below the belt trying to make our point. In the end, we’ll still go to bed as our heads boil over with tears…however, now more damage has been done…and that damage cannot be undone. This emotional unleashing is due to what psychologists call “flooding” …when we’re so overwhelmed with anger and emotion, all rational thought has evacuated our firehouse head, our hearts are pounding, and we lose all ability to fairly and justly resolve an argument. It’s better to table the discussion until morning and go to bed mad.
When you find yourself head on with a night fight, remember the three R’s:
Recharge: Go to sleep, get rest, and recharge your battery. The issue at hand will be clearer with a rested mind. With rest comes rational thought. With rational thought comes perspective.
Revisit: Choose a time to revisit the issue with your partner. Discuss it with a clear mind and emotions in check. If the issue remains ALL THAT upon revisiting, then more discussion is needed. If not…then let it go, apologize, and get geared up for make up sex. Established emotional and sexual connections are the ties that bind our love. Heated fights will unravel those ties. And failure to reestablish them will burn the edges so they may never bind again. So, manage your relationship and “tie” it up with a pretty little bow. 🙂
We all fight. It’s not a sign of the end times for our marriage. It’s simply a sign that we’re together every day, we have our own opinion, and we’re comfortable enough with one another to vocalize that opinion. A healthy couple will fight. A smart couple will fight when the time is right.
So…go ahead. Sleep on it!
“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.” ~Lyman Abbott