By Erickka Sy Savané
Your husband turns his back on you and goes to sleep. In less than five minutes the room is engulfed by the steady sounds of his snoring while your mind is still fixated on the argument you just had. How can he sleep with so much hanging in the balance? He knows you’re not supposed to go to bed angry. It’s one of the first things you hear when you get married. But here you are playing with fire, having another brush with relationship death, even after ten years of marriage. Really? Why can’t you resolve your issues by bedtime like your best friend? Every time this happens you can’t help wondering if it’s a sign that your relationship is ultimately doomed. Perhaps it’s time you answer the question once and for all:
Will going to bed angry ruin your relationship?
You think back to the first time it happened early on in your marriage. What you were arguing about you don’t recall, but you do remember cozying up to him in bed, his back turned to you, whispering softly in his ear, ‘You know you’re not supposed to go to bed angry.’ In an instant he turned around, eyes red as fire, and said, “I will not make up with you so that you can have a good night’s sleep!”
It was in direct contrast to your best friend, an adamant believer in never going to bed angry, who made it look easy. Perhaps it was through talking to her that you decided it would be something great to adopt. And though it never quite worked out on your end, you wonder if it still holds true for them some 10 years later.
“Noooooo. We don’t go to bed angry.”
“How is that even possible?” you ask incredulously.
“We don’t dwell. We say we’re sorry and move on. It’s very comforting.”
“But is it realistic? Do you sometimes say you’re sorry even if you don’t mean it so that you can just go to bed?”
“No. We get into resolve mode. It comes from the fact that we’d rather be happy, and we hate when we’re angry at each other.”
She says it’s something they both decided they wanted early on in the marriage. Now they’ve been doing it so long they’d never go back.
Comforting indeed. In those moments when an argument between you and your hubby can last up to two days, adopting this attitude would be like red velvet cake from Cake Man Raven.
Imagine, knowing that everything would be patched up by bedtime.
Determined to get a second and third opinion, you ask two women who work at your daughter’s pre-school. Do they go to bed angry?
Egyptian Woman: Most of the time we try to resolve things before we go to sleep because they say it’s not good for your health.
Haitian Woman: If you feel like it’s something you can solve then do. But sometimes you just have to go to bed.
Egyptian Woman: It’s like a circle. You’re arguing and not talking, but you have kids so you have to talk. So just let it go. There’s nothing worse than not talking.
Haitian Woman: Sometimes something happens right before bed and even if he wants to solve it, you’re not ready. Not everything can be figured out that fast.
Somehow knowing the Haitian woman goes to bed angry helps. But really, it’s time you talk to your husband. Is he at all concerned that consistently going to bed angry might land you guys in real hot water?
“I don’t like going to bed angry,” he says. “But if I’m angry, I’m angry and I don’t want to not be angry because of some saying.”
“But don’t you believe in it?”
“No. It’s one of those things you pull out when it works for you.”
Hmmm…you think about the times when you’ve been so mad at him that if he even thought about pulling out the don’t-go-to-bed-angry-card you might actually chop off his hands.
He also feels people take advantage of it. “Hey, I screwed your best friend.” Said at 11:59pm. He’s got a point.
Honestly, there will always be something that you like about the idea of never going to bed angry, but doing so won’t ruin your relationship. At the end of the day, you have to make your own rules because sayings are everywhere. ‘The family that prays together stays together’ or ‘Love is never having to say ‘I’m sorry.”’ I’m sorry, but there’s nothing like a good apology. So after ten years of marriage, you’re ready to let this one go. The next time you go to bed angry, you’re going to try your best to have a good night’s sleep.