When you are newly weds (and even before that) you get bombarded with advice. Everyone has ‘the secret to a happy marriage’ or ‘how to communicate with your husband’ advice. It is all well-intentioned and it is usually cliche. Possibly the most common (after ‘love like it’s never going to hurt’) is ‘never go to bed angry’.
I used to believe this.
To back up a little, my husband and I don’t fight much. If we do, we usually get over it pretty quickly. There is something to be said for knowing you’re ‘stuck’ with this other person and there is no point in arguing. I mean that in the most romantic way possible of course.
When the fights do happen though, I always tried to beat them to death. I was desperate to prove how ‘right’ I was and get my husband to say ‘I’m sorry’. It was almost an obsession. And, rightly so- my husband is a master of the fake apology. You know, the ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ and the ‘I’m sorry you took what I said that way’ and the ‘I’m sorry you’re so ridiculously sensitive’. I may have made up that last one, but that is what I was hearing.
Well, on Saturday night, he made me angry. It is not important what it was about, but I wasn’t getting the appreciation or recognition that I wanted. I, naturally, picked a fight. We went back and forth for about 15 minutes. That is officially my husband’s time limit on arguments. At that point, he’ll throw his hands up and declare he’s done.
He went to bed.
Eventually, I went to bed. Angry.
When I woke up in the morning, I just went on with my day. Got my coffee, got the kids going, etc. I remembered being ‘mad’ at my husband, but the details were a little fuzzy. I remembered all of the things I said, but was struggling to remember what the trigger was. He woke up 30 mins. after me and didn’t even acknowledge what took place the night before. He was 100% over it. Not ‘over it’ in the sense that he was hoping I wouldn’t bring it up, but over it like ‘I literally don’t give 2 shits about the fight last night’. I found myself studying him for a minute and marveling at the man-brain. I was like a discovery channel zoologist. “You see the male brain moves on as if nothing has transpired.” So simple.
This is only half insult. The other half is me being jealous of the simplicity. Men typically will tell you what they think. They typically mean what they say. They tend not to over think in the way that women do. This is good for their own sanity, but gets them in trouble with us, often. We want them to solve the mystery that is the female brain. We want them to know what to say and when to say it. We have oddly high expectations for their simplistic male minds.
All I needed to do was to explain to my husband that I was feeling a little under-appreciated and ask him for some words of affirmation. He would have likely obliged. Sure, you could argue that I shouldn’t have to ask for it, but who are we kidding?
So, back to going to bed angry… I went to bed mad, woke up slightly irritated, and then over it by the time I finished my coffee. This may not work for your bigger problems, recurring themes, or unresolved issues, but for the little things it could be just what the doctor ordered. Nothing seems as bad after you sleep on it. When you force an argument to keep going, you start reaching, projecting, compounding…. A fight about putting laundry away turns into ‘you never appreciate me’, to ‘you don’t spend enough time with my family’, to ‘you’ve never really loved me!’
We have all seen this happen. We have all been a part of a fight where we couldn’t remember why it started. All we know is- we are pissed! This is our ego. This is the voice in the back of our head that says, “me being ‘right’ is more important than having peace”. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be at peace and be happy and be in love than be ‘right’.
So, the next time you find yourself fighting, sleep on it. See how important it still is in the morning.
Anyways, that is my advice for the week… Take what you will. Consider reading the 5 Love Languages. It is awesome. Good read for you and your hubby (If you can get him to join you! But, I’ll save that for another post….)