The Worst Marriage Advice We Received

Thursday, March 20, 2014


When we got engaged we immediately became recipients of the advice and opinions of just about everyone we knew (and even some people who we didn't know.)  Much of it was useful and well-meaning, some of it was less than so (How, exactly, am I supposed to respond when someone says "You're too young to be getting married?")  However there was one piece of advice that really stuck with me; mostly because we heard it over and over and over.

"Don't go to bed angry."

And honestly?  This might have been the worst piece of advice we got.  I get the sentiment behind it; really, I do.  It means don't hold grudges, don't pretend like nothing is wrong when you are upset, yada yada.  But I've found that if we are fighting late at night and we make a decision to just sleep on it 9 times out of 10 we will wake up and not even remember what we were fighting about.

Because here's the thing about being married; in addition to gaining a lifelong partner and a lifelong friend, you also gain a lifelong scapegoat.  When I am feeling anxious or upset or angry or sad my first thought isn't "Gee, what could be going on with me internally that's making me feel like this? Am I hungry? Sleepy? Perhaps I should spend some time in prayer or meditation to calm myself down."

No no no.

My first thought is almost always "WHAT DID TYLER DO DO MAKE ME FEEL THIS WAY BECAUSE I AM A TOTALLY STABLE PERSON SO IF I AM FEELING OUT OF WHACK IT IS MOST CERTAINLY HIS FAULT."


And don't get me wrong; sometimes it is.  I'm not here to convince you I'm married to a perfect person and I'm pretty sure you know by now that Tyler isn't married to one either.  And when the conflict is, in fact, interpersonal it definitely needs to be worked through.  But late at night when we are tired and weighed down by all of the other stresses of the day is absolutely the worst time for us to do that.  So we go to bed angry.  Like I said, 9 times out of 10 we wake up and don't even care about the issue that eight hours ago seemed like the end of the world.  And for the times when the issue still needs to be addressed we find that we are much more clear-headed and prone to empathy when we are fresh from a good night's sleep.

Now, I know this doesn't work for everyone.  Some people can't sleep when they are upset so they stay up all night stewing and start off the next day even madder than before.  I definitely don't advise that.  But I think it's important to recognize the external factors that set us off (hunger, sleepiness, lack of exercise, etc) and to address those things before we get into the business of hashing out all of our marital issues.  It can make for a much shorter and, dare I say it- more pleasant argument.

What's the worst relationship advice you've ever received? I know you all have some good stories out there...

14 comments

  1. I've always not liked this "rule" imposed on us in premarital counseling and the like. It's something I was told many, many times. But our fights usually come at night because we're exhausted from a long day and just don't want to put up with it anymore. But sometimes I just don't say anything because I know we'll have to hash it out until both people are happy - and that could take hours when what I need most is to go to bed so I won't wake up tired and cranky the next day to start this all over again. Sometimes pushing back bedtime makes the situation worse, not better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are the same way! I'm glad you guys have been able to figure this out about yourselves, despite what premarital counselors may have said.

      Delete
  2. I can't agree more. I heard that piece of advice more than anything else too and I just don't get it. Sometimes you HAVE to go to bed angry. Sometimes you simply need some more time to sit on your feelings and time helps you have a more constructive discussion. And if the argument starts in the late evening, I certainly don't want to be up until 3 a.m. working it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh me neither! Besides, anything said to me past 11 PM usually goes in one ear and out the other.

      Delete
  3. We mostly got the "too young to be getting married" statement and I just tried my best to keep people from knowing my actual age so that they wouldn't fuss me about it. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly that's just such an intrusive comment... good for you for being able to just let it roll off your back :)

      Delete
  4. I agree with this! Sleep can make problems that seemed like such a big deal totally dissolve away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so convinced that sleep heals almost all of my problems... haha

      Delete
  5. I totally agree with this! Sleep can sometimes be the best medicine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i agree so much with this!!!! most of the time what should just be a small discussion will turn into something more if i am cranky because it's late and i'm ready to go to bed. and no amount of staying up & talking about it will help that. sleep gives me the time & space i need....and the REST to get a better perspective! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! The right perspective can totally make or break an argument.

      Delete
  7. Alex and I are discovering this as well. It was hard for me to accept at first that we would ever go to sleep angry, because I hate discord and have a hard time sitting on it when I think it can be resolved. But I find it encouraging to hear that you guys are in the same boat. At times I have been legalistic about it, as it relates to sin and the verse about not letting the sun go down on your anger. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry I am replying to your comment more than A YEAR late!! But thanks for sharing as well. It's amazing how hearing about others' marital struggles can help to normalize our own, right??

      Delete