Marriage

Why you should break the cardinal marriage rule…

No. Not cheating. You shouldn’t cheat. I don’t think of that as a marriage rule as much as a respect the person you love rule. Don’t do that. I’m telling you to go to bed angry. Forget what your mom, sister, uncles, coworker said. It’s stupid and will end up hurting you in the end. I am a proponent of going to bed pissed off. In separate rooms if need be. There’s a few reasons I think going to bed angry is a good idea extending beyond being angry and wanting to sleep like a starfish in the middle of your queen mattress. This is a valid reason however and shouldn’t be discounted.

For the record this was a photo from our wedding from the amazing Binaryflips Photography. I didn’t want to kill him I just have some sick dance moves that translate to stills that look like I’m ready to strangle him. Beyoncé’s got nothing on me. I’m totally meme-able.

Back to that pesky “rule”… let’s say for example you guys had a few too many drinks and someone was a little too something: too flirty, too possessive, too aloof, whatever. Well one person is bound to be really miffed while the other will maintain that he or she was not any of the above and will be pretty upset that he or she is being accused of said offense.

Problem #1: Drinks make for terrible rational arguments. You might as well be those twin YouTube babies yelling nonsense at one another. I’m sure there are a few lawyers who get liquored up to make their cases but I’m guessing most aren’t buzzed on vodka sodas and flat draft PBR leftovers. I’m also guessing that the people they are interrogating and/or making their case to aren’t equally as tipsy. Would make for an interesting courtroom though. Your neighbors won’t enjoy your boozy Judge Judy impersonation at 2AM though so sleep it off and reconvene. Word to the wise: you might want to wait until the hangover is gone for both of you before talking again too.

Let’s say now you fought over the fact that there is an unequal distribution of chores/childcare/general “keep-the-home-and-life-from-utter-disarray” things. Someone feels as though he or she is pulling more of the whatever weight and makes a flippant, passive aggressive comment that turns into a full-blown, verbal brawl where you rehash the “laundry basket minefield showdown of 2011”. Not drawing from real life or anything. I wasn’t going to break and be the one to put them away. Going to sleep angry saves the day once again here.

Problem #2: Your fight is stupid. You’re both exhausted. He said his piece, you said yours. You know where you both stand. Rather than bring up every time he forgot to empty the sink drain of food particles for the last eight years and go tit-for-tat for two hours, lay down and forget it. Tomorrow, talk about the problems that presented themselves like rested humans instead of traffic-numb-parent-zombies. Rational heads will prevail and you might even come up with a system to both get what you want. Stop doing laundry when there are more than two baskets to put away. Problem solved.

Finally say you fought over something more serious, someone is acting distant, you’re disagreeing on things of more weight (how to parent, family involvement, real money issues). You try to talk and it turns into a real fight. GO. TO. BED.

Problem #3: Emotions don’t help your case. A discussion’s best friend is a cool head. Serious stuff happens, when it does both of you are bound to feel something related to it. When you step back and let it simmer a bit you can reflect and try to be more empathetic, you can actually hear what the person is saying. Sometimes it’s more than just words. You can rethink about their framing, what brought them to that specific conclusion. You can ask important questions. Why is he or she so worried about x, y or z? Is it other stresses? Things from their past experiences? Family of origin stuff is real. We learned this in pre-cana and it really stuck with me. We all come from different and unique families and upbringings, even if they are similar on the surface. This can shape reactions and expectations, its important to be cognizant of it to understand the why behind fights and help find solutions. When you go rest your head and think about it you may start understand and come together, even if you’re in different rooms or just back to back instead of spooning like normal. Most importantly you can think about what you want to say instead of just reacting to the last comment or waiting for your turn to talk. You can remove the angry and reactionary emotion and keep the love. To fight toward each other, not away.

Where most people get the going to bed angry thing wrong is not talking about it. You don’t get to go to bed and forget the conversation. You can’t gloss over it and move on. It needs to be a springboard to a talk instead of a yell. Which is way easier to do after you’ve stepped away to cool off or had a solid 8 hours of sleep. Which none of us have had since having children so let me edit, a solid 4 hours of sleep. Sleeping and moving on only will allow the issue to snowball if the inciting incident keeps happening.

Going to bed angry doesn’t mean you’re failing your relationship. It means you know your partner will be there in the morning. It’s trust in it’s most basic form. I trust that even if he was completely red-faced and angry with me last night that my husband will be there in the morning to talk about it, because that is what marriage is, a constant, moving thing. Full of fights. Fights that are necessary to grow and maintain the relationship. He will be there and so will I. He may even make me my coffee, he probably will want to spit in it, but he won’t. I hope.

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Here’s an oldie but goodie when my baby was a baby. See we like each other. Most of the time. We just never take pictures together anymore. If anyone knows any photographers that do charity work hook a sister up.

What are your fight triggers? Do you go to bed angry? Why or why not?

I’m trying to write more since I just went to part time (YAY) and in theory I have more time for it. Trying to put my free time into doing something productive and not falling face first into a Netflix binge.

Let me know in the comments what you think and don’t forget to follow on Facebook, Instagram and email for more updates! Thanks for reading along people!

 

6 Comments

  1. Jen I started reading this being judgemental as I’m always one for not going to bed upset and I tell others that it’s not healthy. You just put a spin on my thoughts and Im gonna share this because I think it’s a very smart and truthful outlook on this long standing cardinal rule. Great job!

  2. This post is spot on! I usually want to hash things out right then and there but it’s 99% ineffective until heads have cooled. Sharing this one 🙂

  3. 1) Sometimes I go to bed angry because one of us is trying to collect our thoughts and I fall asleep. I’m just not a night person, and I need my four hours dammit.
    2) We occasionally treat ourselves by putting the clean clothes in a drawer, oir daily goto is the half-folded basket full that you hope has socks in the bottom instead of dishtowels like last time.
    3) Let ne know if your family is willing to be my guinea pigs for my feeble attempts at amateur photography.

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