Why Don’t You Sleep On It?


The couch, that is!

All right, we’ve all heard the old saying “never go to bed angry.” It’s right up there with “owning your feelings” and being an “active listener.” But is it really possible to abide by that old adage when you’re underslept, overstressed, and fed up with your partner’s bad habits? My answer is yes, but it’s not always easy.

Some arguments, like whose turn it is to cook dinner, can be resolved in a night. Others need an Intermission – and an Act II, III, or IV! But the Intermission doesn’t have to feature one of you getting banished from the bedroom. That’s not really productive or fun for either of you. Besides, when you go to bed mad, you wake up angry too, and who wants to start their day like that?

In the long run, going to bed angry can create distance and allow resentment to build up. And that’s when the serious arguments start! So let’s back up and figure out how to avoid those kind of kamikaze relationship tactics!

Listen. First of all, when you’re angry with someone, listening becomes, shall we say, more of a challenge. But it takes two to tangle, and if you’re both mad, chances are you’re too busy feeling like a victim to really listen. Take a deep breath and listen to your partner’s side of the story. We all hate to admit it, but he likely has a point. And of course, so do you.

Communicate. Don’t say “I’m fine,” (I do this all the time) then lay awake seething while he snores. Uh-uh. That will make you explode down the road. When something bothers you, speak up. I know, I know, that means actually confronting a problem when it happens – it’s second only to apologizing in the “this totally sucks” category. You can do it.

Apologize. It’s the hardest thing to do, but there are times when a heartfelt apology diffuses a situation like nothing else can. Plus, it opens the door for him to say he’s sorry too. If you’ve messed up, own it girl. You’ll feel better about yourself afterward, even if the apology itself is as painful as getting a root canal and a bikini wax at the same time.

Think happy thoughts. It might sound impossible in the heat of the moment, but you fell in love with this person right? Surely he has some redeeming qualities? Seriously, when you’re upset with someone, think about an unforgettable moment you shared, or a wonderful quality he has. It also helps to think of ways in which he’s vulnerable. Not so you can plot your revenge, Cruella! Rather, remembering his emotional needs reminds you of why he needs you. Awww…

Last but not least – say “I love you” regularly, but especially after an argument. Those three small words are super important to tell your partner. Remember how you feel when he says them to you? Now kiss and make up! And….other stuff ; )

One more thing! None of the above applies to abusive relationships. No matter how you choose to navigate the sea of love, learning to distinguish between mistakes you can live with (or at least work with), and behavior patterns that are actually harmful to you, is key.

How do you deal with disagreements in your relationship? Are you usually able to resolve problems with a heart-to-heart, or do you sometimes “go to bed angry?”

  • Roxy Hanna

    Look up the “Speaker/Listener” technique. I was taught this from a pastor and it actually works wonders! It really helps couples (like mine) that both like to get their two cents in and interupt eachother. BOTH people get their chance to speak and respond.

  • Darren Martin

    What a great article! Having been married for almost 9 years I can say that I 100% agree that communication is key. Hate going to bed angry as it does screw up your entire next day.

    I appologize first and if that doesn’t work I usually try to difuse the stressful situation by trying to get my wife to laugh at something funny(unless my goofiness is what’s pi$$ing her off, lol).

    Great advice, T!

  • Brooke Rega

    I married my high school sweetheart a little over 3 years ago. I can honestly say that we have never “went to bed angry” at each other. Dispite what goes on during our day, mine here at home keeping up with our busy toddler, and his at his office…we always make time to have “pillow talk” before we lay down at night. We talk about our day, things that happened, things that we liked, didn’t like, etc. It always make me feel better about going to sleep beside my sweetheart when we are both completely happy and fullfilled. I believe that leaving the lines of communication open and always listening and not getting defensive is a great way to keep any relationship going like the Energizer Bunny. *giggle*

    Also, another amazing thing to keep doing to keep the “spark” alive is telling your significant other that you love them. My husband and I tell each other numerous times daily that we love each other, and we mean it. Before hanging up, before the other leaves the house, before bed at night, and sometimes just because…we let each other know that we care for the other by saying those 3 precious words.

    Great article, T! Keep up the amazing work!

  • Christine Bouchard

    I am giggling because last night I went to bed made…not my husband of 6 1/2 years. It was over the way he disciplined our 3 year old that evening. My child is in the hitting phase and so my husband wacked him back- not hard but enough to shock him and make him cry. This honestly broke my heart but I couldn’t approach the conversation then because little ears were in the room and honestly it didn’t hit me until later that the man I loved had wacked my baby and made him cry. It was like my mother bear instinks took over and even though my child was not bruised or even hurt I wanted to beat the crap out of my husband for making my baby cry. So as my husband slept with out thinking twice about what he did I laid awake thinking how can I be married to a man who hurt my baby…never mind that fact that I am guilty of the spank as well.

    So this situation like many others issues in are house was handled like always…AVOIDANCE. That’s what we do- we avoid each other, the topic, until I bring it up and I am the bad guy for thinking things have gone sour in our marriage when in fact it’s because we are afraid to fight and afraid to communicate what we really feel. I am taking this article as my wake up and I am not going to bed angry any more!!!!!

  • Jessica Heering

    My husband has been in Iraq since last September. Practically the whole first year of our marriage! And if we have a disagreement we ALWAYS sort it out before we get off Skype. You never know what can happen over there. Nothings ever certain so we always say ‘I love you’ before we go.

  • Melissa Scott

    I have always made it a point to never make my husband sleep on the couch and i don’t either. I think that it just drives the wedge between you deeper and makes the problems worse… Even on nights that i get so mad and leave the room my husband comes and gets me and vice versa. We resolve it or let it go and in the morning its not a problem and doesnt seem nearly as important as we thought in the moment. Its important to communicate. Great advice Tori!!

  • Kat Whelpley

    For us we have kind of a hard relationship for fights. My husband works third and I am up all day with our daughter. We have been together for 5 years and we have yet to have a bad fight (not saying that we haven’t had fights just not bad ones). I couldn’t kick him out of our bed if I wanted to because well we don’t sleep together because of his work schedual. BUT we do have an effective way to work on our issues. When a fight starts we both go to our seperate cornors to cool off (we never suggest it or say it we just seperate and cool off). Later we sit and talk about what it is and if it isn’t big enough it isn’t even brought up. But no matter how big the fight we always are calmed down enough to talk about it. When he is home we never go to bed angry because we agree it is better to lose sleep talking about a problem then to lose sleep not talking about it.

  • Elisabeth Armstrong-Smith

    Hubby and I have only been married for 8 months, but we lived together for 2 years prior to our wedding. I made it a habit to never go to sleep angry because it only makes things much worse (and I end up very tired in the AM after having listened to him snore all night)!

    We both quickly learned, however, that we aren’t able to work through any problem if one person is not receptive to the “making up” part. It’s difficult to come to a resolution if the other person is putting up a brick wall. We generally escape to our respective corners, cool off, and then one of us approaches in a delicate (nondefensive) manner. It’s much more difficult than it sounds! smiley-laughing.gif

  • Janet Burnett Deuel

    Like you, I have kids. It would take an enormous problem for me to disrupt their family life. That being said, sometimes its OK to go to bed angry because problems always seem bigger at night. Morning light tends to put things in perspective. I’m rarely still mad by morning.

  • Kathleen Orland

    We don’t have kids in the house anymore. Ours are grown up. That is definitely one less stress to worry about.

    We have rarely gone to bed angry, but sometimes it’s best to take a break and get some rest. Often we wake up with a fresh perspective and can sort things out when we’re physically feeling alert and more responsive. It’s hard to feel angry when you wake up refreshed. It’s easier to be logical and resolve an issue that’s really contentious.

    We don’t argue often. We married approaching our middle age. We pick and choose our discussions because we don’t waste time on who left socks on the floor (him), who forgot to pay a bill (me), who hasn’t vacuumed in a week (him) and who left an empty carton of milk in the sink (me). We have our flaws and we accept that. We don’t battle over the things that ultimately don’t matter.

    We have been through many crises in our marriage; the loss of 3 of our parents, my catastrophic ill health, the loss of jobs, etc. Those are the things that count, not dishes in the sink or the bank balance.

    We like to look at our disagreements as how each one affects our overall life when we look back on things in 20 years. Am I going to put on my headstone that I spent my marriage picking socks up off the floor? No! I’m going to put on it that I love my husband. And “I told you I was sick!” LOL

  • angie stoczanskyj

    i am not married yet, but have been with my bf for 4 years, everything we have or do we act like we are married. after reading this story it totally hit home. since day one we have NEVER gone to bed angry, no matter what, i have tried but he wont let it happen. there is always a kiss good night, and an i love you even if the fight is not totally over. if we do ever fight it doesnt last, we may yell and scream at one another but its pretty much over with in time. i liked this story, thanks for sharing

  • Ariane DontNeedIt

    Totally true. I always say “I’m fine” but my husband actually knows me so well he says “No, you arent. What’s wrong?”. Usually, it’s life in general but when we fight, it’s like verbal lockdown. We don’t say a word to each other. Actually( and I’m sure this is unhealthy) we sometimes resolve things through text message. When we are a room away from each other.

    Guess what I’m trying to say is, good points. :)

  • Joanne Antinozzi

    My bf and i are freaks of nature. We’ve been together 2 1/2 years and we have yet to have a fight.

  • cecilia chavez

    I always do the whole “its fine” thing and YES I completley end up stewing in anger. I am trying to change that.

  • Ellen Cohen

    I almost always go to bed angry. Hubby is always acting like a 12 yr old. He does things that always piss me off. Then he yells at me and calls me a *itch,everyday. I just wish when he made a mess he would admit it and clean it up. It is not funny when you fart and burp. He pees in the toliet at night and “forgets” to flush it.

    He drives like a drag racer. When I yell at him for almost getting in wrecks,he calls me that name.

  • Sonnia Guerra

    I see your point but it’s easier said than done… that said I will try to implement at least one of your suggestions at a time (baby steps). I’m 36 years old and have been married to my husband for 19 of those and although I love him dearly I really dislike him alot of the time!!! Throughtout the years we have gone to bed many a night angry and truth be told I wake up in the morning still angry but I can think a little clearer and I usually decide to just let it go… I always make sure to say everything I need to get off my chest before I turn over in an fury of anger and go to sleep! I try to have a don’t sweat the small stuff attitude but with 4 kids, nothing much seems like small stuff to me!!! Thanks again for your great ideas!

  • Jackie C

    My ex and I used to go to bed angry a lot. Which is why he is my ex. ;) I used the “I’m fine” line all the time. Basically because I knew if I said how I felt it would most likely end up in a fight. Maybe if we had used some of your suggestions more things would have been different. Live and learn!!

  • Taryn McCracken

    We go to bed angry, unfortunately. I am one that would prefer to fight then, kiss and make up before the end of the day. But my husband prefers let the fight linger. His argument is that he wants to talk when we are calmer and a more appropriate time. But, 9 times out of 10, we never get around to talking about it … well, at least until we get around to see the therapist again.

  • Lois De Lisle

    First marriage not so good. Second / current marriage.. has been good. We both have learn to speak and not yell at each other. To get it out and not blame the other.

    I have not done this but read where a couple when they start to fight one get a candy bar out and they set and eat it and don’t say anything untell they are done. By then they are not go mad and now they take time to listen without being so mad.

  • Heather V.

    I am learning to not hide behind the “I’m fine” mask and it had helped my relationship drastically. We don’t go to bed angry. If we are having an arguement and we just want to go to bed, we lie in bed, I lay my head on his chest, and we continue having the arguement/discussion. Being in a cozy and intimate position like that helps make us remember why we are so much in love. We never really have really big fights and, thankfully, we have learned to be great at communicating with each other.

  • Elizabeth Christman

    You never ever EVER go to bed angry if you can. I lost my 1st husband unexpectedly in his sleep… he was 27… every fight rings in my brain to this day.. you get what you have to say out. you listen to what they have to say. and at the end of the day remember that you love them and while you may not always agree- that love has to be the most important thing.

  • Richel Newborg

    So well written and great advice! I also think never saying “I’m fine” when you are really not is one of the worse mistakes you can make. If I am mad, then I say so. If I am frustrated, I say so. Communication is the best! I had a horrible first marriage where there was no communication. It was the worst feeling to not be heard or feel like I could express myself.

  • Michelle Cadd

    This July my husband and I will have our 20th anniversary! We have been together for 23 years and been through a lot of ups and downs. I use to hold it all in and now no. But we do wait a little while to discuss what we are mad about because I think when emotions are high things get said that hurt and can’t be taken back ever. It’s like unringing a bell. We don’t yell at each other,and we try not to go to bed mad. The very few times it has happened I have payed there and just thought about what would I do if he he wasn’t there tomorrow? What if my bed was empty in the morning how would that make me feel? And within about 10-15 min I think about how trivial the fight was anyway and roll over and hug him. Him on the other hand I think men get amnesia when they go to sleep cause I can be mad but he didn’t know I forgave him and he Waksman up like good morning sweetheart. Maybe he thinks the same thing I do at night never thought to ask. But appoligising and forgiving is huge, also is saying i love you and kissing. After 20+ yrs we still kiss 10+ aday my kids are like get a room! Very well written Tori! Love everything you write!

  • Mary Garrison

    I am an older wife this time around. Life is too short for little arguments that really dont accomplish anything. When my husband and I disagree..I just explain calmly how I feel and why,,,and he most often sees things my way. I love him dearly but he wants to know why I feel the way I do…so I do my best not to let my emotions speak, just my intellect. Have a blessed day everyone.

  • Carolyn Roberson

    Loved Dean in Open Range…my favorite movie.

  • Jenn

    Written in our vows were to never go to bed angry and to say i love you before you go to bed and when you first wake up. You never know what can happen day to day so the best thing to do is have the disagreement and then make up.