|Photo by the fabulous Patricia Lyons|
In case you missed yesterday, we’re talking a little bit about marriage this week. Yesterday I talked about how in the three years I’ve been married, I continue to learn that our husbands were made to compliment us, but not complete us. Ready for number two?
Don’t go to bed angry.
If you’ve taken any marriage course or read any book on marriage, chances are you’ve heard this one. It’s right up there with “love isn’t always a feeling, sometimes it’s a choice.” So, as I entered into the married world, I thought I had “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” from Ephesians 4 pretty much covered. I can surely handle that, right??
I will tell you, though, it didn’t take me long to learn why this is one of the most valuable little tips and also one of the most quoted. I can’t speak for everyone else, but in my experience, here’s why this didn’t work out so well:
1. I didn’t sleep peacefully or comfortably all night.
Have you ever tried sleeping in the same bed with someone you’re supposedly “furious” with? It’s a lot of work! Every time I fell asleep, I would forget I was supposed to still be mad and roll over to his side for a little snuggle, only to wake up and remember that angry wives weren’t supposed to snuggle their husbands, and roll as far away to the other edge as I could—I spent the whole night rolling back and forth—it was exhausting. Sleepy Elizabeth didn’t want to stay mad, but awake Elizabeth was still pretty upset—not a great combo for getting your full 8 hours in!
2. When the sun finally rose again, I still had to revisit my anger.
So when the sun rises is all forgotten and figured out? Not quite…had I chosen to not let the sun go down on my anger, I could have woken up with a brand new day and left the past in the past, but by not handling it that night, I had to wake up and start all over. Not only did this fight that, believe it or not, I had already totally blown out of proportion, completely ruin my night, but it ruined my morning as well. I didn’t eagerly awake to a new day, but I woke up with dread that I still had to revisit the icky parts of yesterday and have it last not one, but two days.
As a stubborn, controlling girl, this is still super duper hard for me—I hate admitting fault and I hate to surrender, but this is one goal that we both strive for in our marriage. There are still times when we both need our space, but whatever is dividing us, we try to make sure that even if we might not totally agree, we’re at peace before our heads hit the pillow. It doesn’t mean everything is always perfect before we call it a night, but even if it isn’t, we choose to not be angry with the situation or with one another…that’s where that “love isn’t always a feeling, sometimes it’s a choice” comes in handy!
And while we’re on the subject I just have to say, that when it comes to fighting, if your husband is like my husband, the silent treatment is not really a punishment. If anything, you’re doing him a favor. Several times early on in our marriage, I tried to teach him a lesson with my most impressive, dramatic silent treatment, but I’m pretty sure he had no idea…he was just happy for a little quiet!
And one last thing…when it comes to a lovers spat, I just have to say, “grace, grace, grace.” In three years, I continue to learn so much about God’s grace, my husband’s grace, and my struggle to bestow grace, and while I still have quite a ways to go, I’m beyond grateful for grace.