I can’t even remember what we were arguing about, but I recall that my eyes were drooping. I knew I was too tired to think coherently, my emotions messing with my reason. It was after 11 p.m. and my bed was calling my name.
We’ve all heard that the key to a happy relationship is “Never go to bed angry.”
Didn’t we need to hash our problem out? Didn’t we need to kiss and makeup before closing our eyes for the night? Would our marriage be doomed if we waited until the morning to finish our discussion?
I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but after listening to the experience of a long-married couple we gave ourselves permission to solve our disagreements on our own time and in our own way.
A few months before our wedding this couple told us not to buy into the whole “don’t go to bed angry” thing. The wife said that early in their marriage she’d insist they stay up until they agreed upon a solution to their problem. Sometimes that meant they’d be up into the wee hours of the morning, making both of them cranky the next day due to lack of sleep.
They learned pretty quickly that for their marriage to thrive, they needed to ignore that age-old advice, sleep, and then try to discuss their problems again later.
We decide on a case by case basis which problems we resolve before bed and which ones we save until morning. If one of us says we’re just too tired to keep talking about the issue or we notice that we just keep talking circles around one another, then we call it a night.
The truth is, I usually do see things differently in the morning, and so does my husband. After a good night’s sleep, one of two things happens: We see things more clearly, or we realize that our issue really wasn’t as big of a deal as we originally believed.
Whether we figure it out at night or in the morning doesn’t matter. What matters is that underpinning it all is the belief in our love for each other and our trust that we’re not in it to “win” an argument, but to come to a resolution that’s best for the both of us. And sometimes what’s best is a good night’s sleep.