“Never go to bed angry,” the old saying goes. I glare at my husband over the top of my laptop. I’ve just settled in for my evening work session to finish what didn’t get done from the day. Dinner dishes still sit on the dining room table where I’ve set up to work. Behind him, I can see the remains of our 4-year-old’s day in his playroom. Legos, I know I will step on later, and his dirty clothes he stripped when it was time to change for bed. I carefully calculate and log these items on my mental “todo” list and turn back to focus my rising anger on him. He’s just now returned home from a 12-hour workday to warm up leftover dinner. It’s 8:30 pm.
He’s trying to justify an event with his brothers that is a short week away. This is the first I’m hearing about it, and the family calendar is jam-packed already, with items that have been weeks and months in the making, I might add. Some of my largest ever projects at work execute this week. There’s a concert we’re attending, our son’s pre-school schedule, and the extra shifts my husband picked up at work. Not to mention a 10-day vacation planned for the week after, packing is already on my mind. No, the brothers will have to reschedule.
An argument ensues.
It is admittedly a very small item…with a very reasonable solution…but who can be reasonable right now.
So, I go to bed angry. And this is my usual strategy for the times that we argue.
Old sayings and marriage prep advice be darned. Here’s why.
The select times that my husband and I get into a disagreement are always late at night. Always. He’s finally home from work, our 4-year-old finally in bed, and we’re finally crossing paths. It’s been a busy day, week, heck; it’s been a busy two years! We’re tired. By the end of the day, I’ve lost patience from solo parenting a 4-year-old for the evening, and my poor husband, who’s worked in a major hospital through all of the pandemic, is emotionally drained.
I know the triggers. I can see the storm forming. It’s a recipe for disaster. No reasonable communication is happening. Everyone is exhausted, and I’ve begun to recognize that that’s a large part of why we’re arguing. My husband and I don’t generally wake up irritated with each other. 9 times out of 10, if we have a disagreement, it’s at the end of a day, and lack of sleep is a large contributor.
I don’t want to rush through real feelings to find a resolve in a short amount of time before we both go to sleep. It’s nothing against my husband. It’s not that I don’t care to resolve the argument. In fact, it’s because I care for him so much. I know that I’m not myself when I’m overwhelmed and tired. Neither of us are processing rationally at 10 o’clock at night. I know I’ll feel better in the morning when I’m more rested, and I’ll be better equipped to tackle a disagreement and take his feelings into account rationally.
So, I kiss him goodnight, and I go to bed.
And 100% of the time, it’s resolved over coffee in the morning with a fresh perspective and a new day.