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Why Following This Common Marriage Advice is Unknowingly Destroying Your Relationship

Why Following This Common Marriage Advice is Unknowingly Destroying Your Relationship.

Ironically enough, I am now divorced—due to other reasons than ones mentioned in this article. That said, I didn’t want to delete this as I believe it is valuable information, helpful, and pertinent for a healthy marriage.

Last night, my now-ex-husband and I got into a fight. We had started off the day exhausted to begin with and because of the day’s demands we ‘hit our wall’ much earlier than normal. With a toddler and newborn to take care of, food left out from dinner, a dog to feed, and a house to lock up, someone had to do the nightly round of chores.  I began asking him to do the chores because I really didn’t want to. He laid down, turned on his phone, and ‘checked out’.

Frustrated, I got up and went and did the chores. When I came back we were still both upset with each other – I at his laziness and he at my frustration. We had a choice: go to sleep, or do what we had been told by so many before getting married which was to ‘never go to sleep mad at each other’.

When we were newlyweds, because of the advice many gave us to ‘never go to sleep mad at each other’ or to ‘never go to sleep without resolving an argument’, we would stay up late into the night trying to work through disagreements. I figured that to have a ‘happy marriage’ we needed to make sure that we followed the advice so many had given.

It didn’t seem to make our marriage any happier. In fact, staying up late usually made the disagreement much worse.

Eventually our arguments got too exhausting, and we’d give up and go to sleep anyway. In the morning, we were amazed that often what was so important the night before was already water under the bridge. If it wasn’t quite forgotten we were impressed at how quickly and easily our seemingly impossible disagreement was resolved.

After multiple experiences like this, we came to realize that going to bed mad at each other was the single best thing we could do to resolve an evening fight.

So, despite being upset with each other last night, we laid down (backs facing each other) and slept. In the morning, we were no longer upset. I was rested and thinking more rationally. He had energy to get up and go take care of our toddler. Having taken some time to calm down, our resentment was like water under a bridge.

After an evening argument, mornings are often like this for us. Granted some mornings we still have to work through things, but it never fails that going to sleep helps tremendously.

If you think about it, it makes sense. When we are tired we are less rational, more emotional, and more easily offended. It’s also instinctive (outside of this marriage advice) to tell upset people to: step back, calm down, get a breather, go for a walk, go for a drive, etc.

We don’t advise our co-workers to stay at work until they are no longer mad at the boss. Neither do we tell emotional teenagers to keep spending time with friends they are in fight with. It’s common knowledge that when people are upset at each other it is effective for them to get some space and give it some time. Dealing with contentions in this manner really diffuses the anger and makes the problem seem like a non-issue.

So next time you are mad at your spouse at night, give yourself permission to break this common marriage advice and go to sleep.



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17 Responses to Why Following This Common Marriage Advice is Unknowingly Destroying Your Relationship

  1. I completely agree! My mom told us that when we got married five years ago, and when my sister got married last summer, I told her not to listen! Everything you talk about in this post is exactly right! Any time my husband and I have tried to stay awake and talk through arguments, it always ends up worse. And when we don’t, we are always so much calmer in the morning. So yes, do not follow that advice!

  2. Ivie says:

    I usually don’t go to sleep angry I shrug it off cause by morning we truly don’t recall what the fight was about. The once or twice we tried to hash it out we both ended up thinking the other person was wrong so this is definitely true

  3. Sheila says:

    Never going to bed angry doesn’t mean one of you has to apologize, it simply means to say we don’t agree on this but I still love you and we can agree to disagree. Over 35 yrs of marriage has taught me this!

    • Anita Fowler says:

      Sheila- Great conflict resolution. It may depend on personalities but my husband and I agree to disagree much more easily after we get much needed rest. When we are tired it is hard to do.

  4. Ben Luthi says:

    Definitely agree. We’ve had more than a few arguments that weren’t resolved before bedtime. Sometimes it’s good to just cool off and revisit the discussion when you’re no longer emotional about it.

  5. Amber Lynn says:

    The point of the advice to never go to bed angry with each other, means to create solution before you sleep, so then you sleep in love not in anger. That could be as simple as leaving everything as is and dealing with those issues in the morning. Sure sometimes night conflict may take an hour or 2, depending on the topic. I always remind him never to start an conflict at night, to avoid it all together… That’s how I roll, argue in the day time, that’s not allowed at night, if we are relaxing our bodies, minds and silencing negativity. But he ALWAYS, starts at night or during the start of a day out of the area (only the start for some reason)… I don’t do arguing at all… I warn him when I feel irritated and give him warning when I need a moment to calm down (silence or hugs)… He NEVER gives a warning, it’s like an Earthquake… My point to all this… It’s not about going to bed angry, because that shouldn’t even be an option, it’s about your love rising above to understand the other person and why he or she is upset… And again, a warning would be smarter than a burst out of no where. COMMUNICATE and you will never have to go to bed angry with each other, maybe at the outside world trying to knock you down, but not at the love of your life. Too many ignore love and praise negativity. It’s all a choice… Going to sleep angry with your partner to me is ignoring a problem, since usually it doesn’t actually get resolved by sleeping. And if you arguing about the chores or something silly… Maybe it’s you have to take a moment, if he is ignoring you tho, that’s never ok to do, no matter what and that’s what you should be upset with him over… not if he did the chores or not, but the way he responds to you asking for help. Not ok… But if you communicate to him that you find it wrong he ignores you when you ask him to help with things… He will start helping you… or he will continue and you have a bigger problem… COMMUNICATION AND RESPECT. Sometimes my hunny and I leave chores sitting over night if we are too tired, we do them the next day… That should be an option too, would save your marriage and respect for the other. We also use biblical points of views on marriage as well… Love over Lust, Honesty over Dishonesty and Praise over Anger. You don’t have to be a marriage genius to know, this is the best way to stay married for 40+.

  6. Brandi says:

    While I completely agree that sleeping off the effects of any stress that was thrown at you throughout the day, including that which was created by “said” argument, and that “cooling your heels”, so to speak, are what’s best for both parties, I also believe that the contextual basis for this “common marital advice” has been lost in this article, and in general. I believe that the sole, intended purpose for its existence (the aforementioned advice) is to convey the vitality in realizing the reality of the world in which we live — we live! we love! we die — and no one but God knows the exact timing of any of these events — therefore, harboring bitterness and anger for your spouse, spilling over into the next morning presents the possibility for much deeper-seated issues, should either one or the other not wake-up the next morning.

    • Anita Fowler says:

      Brandi- Interesting perspective. I guess if my husband were to die in the night after a fight that would be horrible for me. He isn’t very sentimental so I doubt it would eat at him like it would me. But honestly, staying up for hours causing our fight to become even worse vs. sleeping it off and resolving it much more easily in the morning is worth the extremely rare risk of one of us passing on during the night for us. I do appreciate the insight though.

  7. I love this article. My fiance and I sometimes get into little tiffs before night, and I’ve always tried to resolve them before going to bed. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was made much worse. It makes sense to just go to bed, because usually in the mornings I can’t even remember what we were fighting about. Thanks for your story!

  8. Jenny says:

    My mom always reminds her three married kids that the proverb says not to let the sun go down on your anger. So If the sun has set and you’re tired, don’t try to process the issue. Know that you can discuss it later and often in the morning the problem has boiled down to a smaller looking issue. It’s very good advice! I totally agree with this article! Thanks for putting it out there.

  9. The only catch with this logic is when the argument is so frustrating that you can’t fall asleep. Then I find myself waking my husband up to say one more thing, which escalates the fight even more! 😉 The rule should be to never discuss important things late at night. Otherwise, I totally agree. With petty fights, it’s better to just go to bed.

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