As the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: Finish each day and be done with it.
There’s nothing more comforting than coming home after a bad day to find your loving partner waiting with a sympathetic ear (and maybe even a glass of wine). But then there are those days when you both come home needing love and patience – the problem then is that it’s hard for either of you to give it.
Add to that the responsibilities of family life, and two bad moods can cause a clash and bad feelings over – nothing. Or possibly the argument is over something that should be talked at a time you’re both ready to deal with a more contentious subject.
It’s hard to have perspective on difficult days. But for the sake of your relationship, and out of respect for each other, don’t go to bed mad. As tempting as it might be to simply roll away and turn out the lights, this is not a healthy for the body, mind, or marriage.
Anger fuels the creation of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol is linked to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cancers. Learning to let go of strife might not only save your marriage, it could literally save your life.
If you ever find yourself harboring bedtime anger, consider the following:
Was the offense really that terrible? Do you believe your anger is righteous? Are you trying to prove a point? Or are you really so upset you just can’t talk about it anymore – but also can’t let it go? Getting to the bottom of your own motivations will help you get beyond them.
What are you expecting from your partner? An apology? A change of heart? To feel bad that you feel bad? Or are you both holding onto anger? Once you have an answer, you can then ask yourself: is this the way we really want to treat each other?
Consider your part in the fight. As much as you may want to believe your partner is entirely in the wrong, each person contributes to whatever negativity or positivity the relationship experiences. So ask yourself: were you as patient and as generous as you could have been? Did you make your desires clear, or were you expecting your partner to simply know what you wanted or what you meant? Did you speak respectfully? Act maturely? It may be you also have something to apologize for. If so, do it. Your marriage is worth more than a little bit of pride.
Most of all remember that holding onto anger is a habit that will ultimately tear two people apart. On the other hand, love, compassion, and generosity of spirit are guaranteed to hold you together.