More on the misconceptions of marriage and the advice we all receive from loved ones. Are they fact or fiction?
Probably one of the most commonly heard pieces of marital advice that we hear before we get married is “never go to bed angry.” Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, even this one can get us into trouble if we go into our marriage expecting that all problems that come up within the relationship, should be solved before bed.
The truth is, in marriages, we face both solvable and insolvable problems. Solvable problems are ones that don’t usually involve deeper seated needs and they don’t usually generalize beyond the situation. For instance, your partner’s responsibilities in the household are not being managed due to the increase in job responsibilities at work. This is a solvable problem. With healthy communication, respectful and gentle start ups, we can find a solution to this.
Unsolvable problems are ones that reflect parts of our personalities and are likely not going to change. For instance, your partner is passionate and emotionally expressive when dealing with his or her feelings where as you may be quiet and reflective, preferring a less intense emotional debate. These temperaments are likely not going to change and we simply have to learn how to adjust to them.
Amongst solvable problems, finding creative solutions and learning to work together to adopt new standards, new values and new ideas that address each of our needs doesn’t always come quickly. In fact, many of these problems can take a lot of time and patience to arrive at the best solutions. Though some solvable issues seem less difficult, even petty at times, even they are sometimes better left for the morning when we have rested, calmed down, collected our thoughts and calmed our minds.
Couples get into trouble when they continue to debate an issue when their emotions are strong. This inevitably makes it hard to show empathy, respond with love and find middle ground, whether solvable or perpetual. Dr. John Gottman reminds us that when our heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute, as it often does when we are angry, we are less likely to handle conflict well. So, whether petty or great, solvable or not, when you think of not going to bed angry, try to not let that be an expectation for your relationship problems to be solved, but rather for your own inner peace which we can have even when are problems are not yet solved.
“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3