Have you ever asked for marital advice from a happily married couple? Well, I have. The thing that I hear the most is “Don’t go to bed angry.” I can picture me keeping my future husband awake until we somehow reach a resolution that we just couldn’t come to during daylight hours.
In some very self-centered ways it is sort of brilliant. Maybe if I torture him with sleep deprivation he will finally cave! Totally kidding. The last thing that I want is for him to agree to something that he will certainly regret later on and most definitely resent me for.
I can understand not going to bed in rage and holding onto anger until morning. That seems a bit sinful and also like it is counterproductive in making a marriage work.
I, by nature, am a solution person. I cannot stand living in conflict or sitting in problems. A lot of times this is a great quality, but sometimes it means that I am so desperate to move onto the next thing that requires my attention that I simply snatch up the first solution that I see. Sometimes it takes a little more brainstorming and soul searching than that and sometimes the first solution only presents later problems.
My fella is the opposite. He will exhaust every resource possible before adjusting to change, even necessary change. The man’s commitment to things is remarkable, but sometimes it means he sits in a problem a lot longer than I can stand. Can you imagine how crazy we can sometimes drive each other?
Here is a couple made up of two very different personalities. I’m slightly impulsive and even compulsive about needing an answer or a solution NOW. My man is sure he can somehow fix things by osmosis or great fortune and doesn’t want to act at all. Neither of us is right. Insert conflict.
The thing that I love about us is how we can always win each other over. There is no malice or hate or wrath. He drives me up the wall at times, but I would choose him over and over. I “nag” him to death, but I know he wants me to be happy as his partner.
Even the most wonderful love stories have anger and conflict. My soon-to-be-groom once told me that I was being a pain, but that I was his pain! Ha!
So, how does this advice even seem like a realistic goal for us? Sure, I would love immediate reconciliation, but my partner requires more trial and error and sometimes processing. Where did this idea come from?
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,
What if we are reading this in a different light? What if there is more to translate?
Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
What if what the Bible is really trying to tell us is to let go of some of that blind rage and be more thoughtful in how we mend things with our spouses? What if the real lesson is being more thoughtful with our words?
Anger happens. High emotion happens to everyone. It is what we do with it that defines who we are as partners.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Maybe being silent or sleeping on it isn’t such a bad idea. I’m such an imperfect person and I fail to be the Christian I would like to be on a sometimes daily basis. I fail to be the spouse and the mother I would like to be sometimes too. But what if I was slower to react? What if I was gentle in my answers.
I love advice from other people. I truly like to hear what is working for them. I mean no offense by saying that I will likely allow us to go to bed angry. I think we will kiss each other through tight lips and clenched teeth and sleep on it.