When I was quite young, I remember my maternal grandmother talking to me about family relationships. I distinctly remember her saying “To get along, you never go to bed mad. Remember that. You should always talk things out before sleep”.
I don’t remember the context of the conversation, I was probably only 7 or 8 years old. But I have always remembered her telling me that. It may have even been related to my sister, rather than pertaining to a spouse.
So this week when a morning news story talked about reducing stress in a marriage, one of the listed items was Don’t Go To Bed Mad. According to this medical xpress column from 2016, bad memories or stressful memories can be made worse while going to sleep immediately after the situation, and it ingrains the memory further into your brain, making it harder to deal with and abolish.
The deeper the memory is ingrained, the harder it is for the brain to suppress it. And the more often you will replay it in your head.
Money or financial issues is usually listed as one of the first stressors of marriage, followed by parenting, and in laws. But after that things are more nondescript: miscommunication, hurt feelings, work stress, being overly tired/exhaustion, drifting apart (or a failure to communicate well and regularly). Any of these could contribute to a fight, be it a spouse, friend, family member or work colleague.
We all know that the longer things build up before you explode, the longer it takes to get to the root of the problem and find a solution.
So rather than suffer in silence, find a way to talk, and if things get out of control, take time to slow the conversation down, talk rather than shout, listen, and find some common ground. All before bed.
Making up is more fun anyway.