Before my husband and I were married we received a lot of unsolicited advice–just like everyone else. Some of it was cool and some of it made me cringe. One that we got over and over and I have heard since at many wedding luncheons and dinners is “Don’t go to bed angry with each other.”
Ne-Yo (really hoping my fellow millennials are out there reading this) said it most eloquently in his song “Mad”:
Girl, I don’t wanna go to bed (Mad at you)
And I don’t want you to go to bed (Mad at me)…
Long as everything’s all right between us,
Before we go to sleep,
Baby, we’re gonna be happy.
Here’s the thing though… I don’t buy it.
Sorry Ne-Yo, but if I really thought you were cheating on me (which is why his girlfriend is fighting with him in the song) I’m not going to be able to calmly work it out in one night and go to sleep happy and fine. I know I am not the only one who is outright grumpy when I’m tired. My husband gets so ornery when he is tired he can barely talk. There is no way we are going to work out something substantial, let alone what to watch on Netflix when we should be going to bed.
Ne-Yo does allude to this (although he seems to ignore this sage advice for the rest of the song) in one verse where he says, “Fighting for nothing, Crying for nothing, woah And we won’t let it go for nothing.” I call this toddler fighting, because I fully remember fighting like this when I was little. It’s the type of arguing where you are so gung-ho about something that even when you realize you’re wrong or can’t remember why you’re mad, you just won’t let it go and keep fighting. I rarely do this anymore, but when I do it is because I am exhausted and can’t think like a functioning adult anymore. When I’m tired and not thinking straight I can turn just about anything into a fight if I want to.
In actuality, experts suggest resting on it and then coming back to the argument when you have had some sleep and time away from the situation. Approaching the issue calmly leads to better outcomes and could lead to a more peaceful discussion rather than a full-on fight. One researcher found that even if just one partner is tired you can have a harder time resolving problems. That means even if it’s late and you feel up for a lengthy discussion and conclusion to your issues, your partner may not be, and you need to allow them the time to rest.
So, next time you are feeling frustrated and ready to lash out just before bed… don’t. This doesn’t mean to bury it deep down and never talk about it. It means to give yourself and your partner time to rest before you have your necessary conversation. Maybe your fight started earlier in the day when you were feeling rested and now it is getting late and you both are on the verge of saying things you don’t mean… stop. There is no need to have a messy fight until the wee hours of the morning, have little sleep, and then have a full day of work worrying about it.
Your neighbor down the street had great intentions when she said not to go to bed angry with each other at your wedding. It’s kind of sweet actually– thinking you’ll always have a good night’s sleep content and happy with one another, but that won’t always happen if you do try and work it out, and going to bed mad isn’t going to ruin your relationship.
For more relationship advice go to babycubby.com.