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If you and your spouse get into an argument, you may feel pressured to resolve your disagreement before bedtime.
After all, isn’t there a wise old saying about “never going to bed angry”?
Why Forcing Reconciliation While Angry May Not Work
Many of us were raised on wise old sayings, and we may feel the right thing to do, when angry, is to hurry up and resolve the conflict we’re having with our spouse.
But think about what happens: you have your point of view, and you are digging in on your side. Your spouse has a point of view, and is dug in as well. Meanwhile, you’re watching the clock. It’s getting close to bedtime, and the pressure is on to resolve this conflict before it’s time for shut-eye.
It’s not likely that you will want to resolve the conflict by conceding 100% to your spouse, and unlikely that your spouse is inclined to do so, either, just for the sake of not going to bed angry. At best, you may have a grudging cease-fire, and then toss and turn all night about it.
Here is what the marriage experts say: go ahead and go to bed angry. Why?
When you’re fighting with your spouse, it’s hard to be logical because you are waist-deep in an emotional response: anger. You’ve heard the term “hot-headed” in connection with anger? It’s because you are fuming inside, and it makes you slightly irrational. It’s difficult to reconcile with your spouse and resolve an issue if you’re feeling this way.
A major physiological response you are experiencing is known as flooding, in which your strong emotions send a surge through your system, almost like a shot of adrenaline. Your nervous system becomes engaged to prepare for a feeling of being threatened: your breathing becomes more shallow and faster, and your heartbeat quickens, as well.
One of the best ways to reverse this physiological response is to take a break and calm down… and what could be a better way to take a break than to go to sleep?
Here are 3 tips for managing your conflict the next day…
3 Ways to Manage Conflict and Anger
So you went to bed, angry and exhausted, and now that a new day is dawning, what should you do?
Here are three ways to manage the conflict:
Tip #1: Assess Your Feelings
So, you’ve both slept on the problem and have awakened more relaxed—or at least too groggy to fight. Do you find that your perspective has changed?
Without the heat of in-the-moment anger, you may look at the problem or issue a little differently once you’ve had that opportunity to cool off. Assess where you stand today.
Tip #2: Broach the Topic Calmly
No one wants to wake up in the morning, roll out of bed and begin arguing. Since the morning presents a fresh start, find a different way to calmly bring up the conflict. Keep your tone neutral, and watch the words you choose: don’t use a neutral tone but select ammo-ready words that will set your spouse off.
Tip #3: Aim for Diplomacy
Now that you are both calmer, look for a way to meet in the middle. Tell your spouse, “I would like to resolve this so that we both feel satisfied. What do you say?”
Your spouse should be feeling much calmer after having slept on things, as well, and may be more than willing to cooperate to find a mutually satisfactory solution to whatever the issue is. If nothing else, aim for a truce.
My best to you as you resolve conflict in your marriage.
Do you and your spouse try to resolve fights before going to bed angry?
Have you ever gauged your physiological response in the midst of a heated argument with your spouse? What does it feel like inside?
How often do you and your spouse take a diplomatic approach to resolving conflict?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.