Don’t go to bed angry

I have heard this many times in my life. The time that it really penetrated my brain was when my dear aunt was tragically killed, and I called my uncle to fulfill the mitzvah of nichum aveilim – comforting the mourner. My uncle told me that we should always strive to solve any disagreement before we go to sleep. One never knows what the next day is going to bring.

However I keep hearing from friends that they make their spouse sleep on the sofa because of what s/he did or didn’t do. Excuses like “He had been so annoying all day I just didn’t want to be around him so I made him sleep in the spare room” etc. “I was so mad at her I didn’t even want to be in the same world as her”. I don’t get that at all. This is one’s life partner!! If you are angry – talk it out once you have calmed down. I would not be able to sleep at all if I had something I needed to resolve with the KoD.

I also use this with the kids. So many times they will stomp off to their rooms upset and angry. They have been known to shout an “I hate you” over their shoulder on the way. I won’t let them fall asleep without going in there and giving them a hug and a kiss and reminding them that I love them. We may not talk about the issue at hand until the next day, but I would hate for them to go to sleep so angry.

I hate being angry. It’s like this heat that consumes me inside and makes me into a person I do not like. To allow that anger to fester all night long – well nothing good can come out of that. Recently I was upset with the KoD for something that now I can say was minor (didn’t feel it at the time though) and I did the unthinkable. I slammed down the phone on him. First time ever I had done that to him. I was horrified at myself. I called him back almost straightaway to apologize and we sorted out the reason for me being angry, we talked it through in a civil manner, we both apologized and moved on, with no lingering anger. Some of the people I know would have given each other the silent treatment for hours if not days. I don’t understand how that works. The anger and resentment just piles up – and that isn’t good for anyone. I know no one has a perfect marriage – but why not do one’s best to make each day with our beshert more meaningful?

(In case anyone thinks me naïve, let me just remind you that I have been through divorce and I certainly do not see marriage through rose tinted glasses. It takes hard work and commitment from both partners, 24/7. But it is so worth it in the long run.)

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30 responses to “Don’t go to bed angry

  1. In almost 7 years of marriage, my wife has never asked me to sleep in another room, or vice versa. Yes, we’ve been angry with one another, but I don’t understand the mentality that one is so angry that one can formalize that anger in alternative sleeping arrangements.

  2. Once I got really mad at my husband for something that was probably stupid (can’t even remember what) and told him to go sleep in the guest room, but like an hour later I went and got him and we made up and slept in the same room. I think that was before we were married…don’t think i would ever do that again, it’s just stupid.

    Then again, I do all sorts of stupid things when I’m angry. I’ve managed to stop storming out of the house, throwing things, or slamming doors. Right now I’m working on the yelling. 🙂

    • good luck with that – i WAS a door slammer. one of my kids does it now and it bugs me. You reap what you sow I guess. My mum had a sign on our front door when i was growing up – “Hadassah, it is not vital, nor strictly necessary, for you to slam this door.” So I am working on that..

    • Me too…

  3. This punishment is terrifying and very foreign to me. It is hard enough to seperate beds, let alone be forced to sleep in another room. As for not speaking to my spouse, this is extremely difficult for both of us. We wouldn’t last a few hours, at most!
    The worst is when a fight erupts right before going to sleep, like you want/need/can stay up for another hour trying to settle the fight when it’s just that you are TIRED and cranky. We try to make it a point, even in a cranky mood, to always say ‘I love you’ before falling asleep.

  4. yeah, when i’m angry at my spouse i can’t even fall asleep so sleeping in another room wouldn’t accomplish much anyhow. to me, it just sounds like immature tactics that ppl. are doing to “punish” their supposed loved ones. as mature adults who love each other, 2 ppl. should be able to resolve things together & manage to sleep in the same room like the adults they supposedly claim to be. otherwise what kind of message are they transmitting to the next generation to emulate?

  5. I can really relate to this. I am somewhat of a “pepperpot” and I have to control this, especially when my wife may be sensitive about a particular topic. I struggle with this a great deal.

    Sometimes, my wife (the “other queen” 🙂 ) and I have argued and I am not proud of letting it get out of hand. But she knows I am her best friend (and she is mine) and ultimately we do apologize and make up. I can relate to Z’s comment about arguing when we are tired (like when I have to get up at 7:00 the next day to go to work 🙂 ). It’s just not worth it.

    Having disagreements is normal, but taking it to arguments that would even contemplate “alternative sleeping arrangements” is out-0f-bounds.

    • but so many people do it. It should be mandatory for couples to take classes before marriage on how to solve conflicts amicably.

  6. I’ve never gotten it either. No matter what disagreements I may have had with my husband over the years, neither of us has ever asked the other to sleep somewhere else.

  7. Lady Lock and Load

    Lord Lock and Load and I never fight (the man is too scared of me 😉 )
    When I was a kid I was so mad that I kicked the wall right near my parents bedroom door and my keds sneaker went right through!
    I am very nasty when I am angry….we call it witch day in our house and the hubby walks on egg shells, poor thing..

  8. I am going to use rather blunt language on this one and I apologize to those I offend.

    Anyone that forces their spouse to sleep on the couch is an utter total selfish idiot.

    I think anyone that “forces” their spouse to sleep outside the bedroom needs to do some serious introspection and figure out why they are so petty and such a control freak.

    If you don’t want to sleep in the same room as your spouse, you know where the couch is.

    If you’ve done this in your life, look in the mirror and figure out if you are still lacking in maturity.

    Then go to your spouse and apologize for being an idiot and tell her/him that you understand what an idiot you are/were.

    If there was a ever a time when I did not feel like sleeping in the same room as my spouse, and there were many with my first, I either swallowed it or slept on the couch myself.

    As for going to bed angry, there are times when I have found sleeping on a fight (or not sleeping) helps put it into perspective. Like everything else in a relationship, “rules” are made to be broken when appropriate.

    • Duvii,

      Your post was blunt but absolutely right on. I think there are good arguments on both sides for not going to bed angry and letting it sort itself out.

  9. I guess I never understood the mentality that you could “make” your spouse sleep on the sofa. I mean, it’s their bed too! And if you can make them, and you are supposedly equals in the relationship, well that means you are equally at risk of being handed your pillow and sent to the living room. In the interests of fairness, since I don’t like sleeping on the sofa, I never went there! It just seems like a respect thing.

    Arguing can be good, if you do it respectfully and in a healthy, constructive manner. In retrospect, I wish the ex and I had argued more – constructively. Our problems were not problems of too much anger, rather, too many things stuffed under the rug for too many years because we both hated conflict. Maybe a few arguments and slammed doors would have cleared the air before it was too late to fix anything.

  10. Hmm I know a guy who got mad at his wife and dropped her off at her friend’s house…I guess that takes it to a whole new level….

  11. Hmm. I don’t know about the “sleeping on the couch” thing, but I do know (from experience) that there are arguments that can’t simply be “resolved” before bed. Sometimes disagreements are too complicated or painful to simply talk them out and make up. I’d rather, I think, be honest about the continued anger or pain or conflict that I felt than “resolve” in some artificial way so we could go to sleep happier.

    I’ve also begun to think more about the idea of never going to bed angry because who knows what could happen etc. I’ve experienced worries like that before, and I totally understand the idea – but it also seems strange, in some way, that our relationship would be so defined by the last thing that happened in it. I mean, let’s say, God forbid, that my partner died while an argument between us remained unresolved (whatever that means, since resolution often isn’t just a neat one-time process). Why would that be so devastating? I mean, I understand why people think that it would, and I feel that too – but I just wonder where this idea comes from. Why wouldn’t the overall joy of our relationship overcome the bad things?

    • Lady Lock and Load

      Perhaps because we replay in our minds the last words that were spoken. My father passed away this year, and I keep on replaying in my mind the last thing he said to me, the last thing I said to him. death is so final.

      • LLL,

        My wife is the last survivor of her family. She lost her father in 1978 (before she graduated college), a beloved uncle in 1989, and her mother almost 10 years ago. Whenever a birthday or yahrzeit comes around, it affects her mood. She sometimes thinks that she could have been a better daughter, but I reassure her that she was a good daughter. I believe that since the soul is immortal, somehow her parents and uncle know what is going on and understand and that if anything was done, it is now forgiven. It is still tough to forget some things, but life does go on and we all must, although we will never forget our loved ones.

        • Lady Lock and Load

          Thank G-d my last conversations with my father were great, no fighting whatsoever! But I will always remember the last thing I heard him say. I am glad it was not something unpleasent.
          Yesterday was his birthday and I knew I would be sad so I got a facial.

          • LLL,

            I am glad that you have such good memories of your father. My father is 91 this year and my mother 87. As time goes on, I realize that I won’t have them forever, so I treasure the time that I am given with them.

    • Miri,

      I think that if, G-d forbid, that did happen, those last words would carry a lot of weight. Of course, the overall joy of the relationship would also be there, but a careless word could impact the good memories.

      Maybe it would be better to have more good memories of the relationship…

  12. Yeah, I mean, I can certainly understand the impetus for the fear. But I guess maybe the whole idea that disagreements and painful things can be neatly resolved such that everyone goes to bed happy and no one ever has a bad last conversation with someone, seems problematic to me.

    I mean, relationships are really complicated – and, in my experience, the more intimate the relationship, the more complex it is as well. To think of arguments and conflicts and painful experiences as things that can be easily resolved and forgotten seems like a sort of shallow way of understanding relationships. Complicated arguments often aren’t like monetary transactions, where you can just “pay up” and everything’s resolved. In my experience, conflicts have a lot of “tentacles” – they relate to your pasts, and your other familial relationships, and differences between you, and they can’t just be neatly tied up.

    • miri, i agree that conflicts have a lot of “tentacles” which my husband calls “the hefty bag syndrome” where in a fight ppl. take out all of the “relationship garbage” & they begin “throwing it” at each other which certainly complicates things but nonetheless when possible it is important to at least try to be loving with your spouse b/f bed time even if the conversation will need to be resumed the next morning/day. besides, the original issue here in Hadassah blog was about forcing a spouse to sleep in another room & that is still wrong unless of course the spouse is abusive is an any way in which case the marriage will probably benefit greatly from outside intervention in order to have a chance to survive.

  13. Miri – I fully understnad that there are issues sometimes that can not be resolved over one discussion. but the actual fight, the yelling, or the arguing – that needs to be settled. Promise to work on the issue like mature individuals. Promise to discuss it at a later date, but do not go to bed angry…make up the fight….thats what i was saying.

  14. I guess it comes down to loving the person and not the behaviour.
    I learned this from Hadassah through her child rearing. It is important to let a child know that you love them unconditionally, and to seperate their identity from their behaviour.
    I believe the same can be applied to most relationships.

  15. Rebbetzin Shain writes in one of her books that she had a deal with her husband that they would never go to sleep upset at each other – and ishe had a verlong and happy marriage.

  16. wow everyone had a valid point and i totally agree. i’d like to add that there are some people (like me) who have a very hard time forgiving, who’s intrinsic nature is to bear a grudge. now i don’t get angry easily either and certainly wouldn’t want to force my husband out of his bed (that is disrespectful and just wrong). however, it can take me a very long time to get over something and usually sleeping on it and not trying to discusss s/t when i’m tired and cranky is a good idea.
    as was said before there’s arguments both ways
    but forcing someone oout of their bedroom? sounds nasty to me

    • as i said, make up the part of the fight that was nasty – the yelling or the name calling or the door slamming. if the issue at hand is complex it cannot be solved in a short time, but at least apologize for the anger part….

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