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Yes, you read that right. One of the secrets to a happy marriage is to go to bed mad, according to research performed by Shaunti Feldhahn, author of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages.
Most of us have heard the advice, “Don’t go to bed mad.” So we try to apply it to our relationships, because we don’t want to break a biblical command.
I had this experience recently. My man made me angry, right about 9:00 p.m. We were both exhausted and drained from our days. Words came out wrong and harsh. And I could see no good was going to come from continuing our conversation.
So, I shut my mouth and went to bed.
Why was I so bold as to seemingly break this cardinal rule of marriage? Because, according to Feldhahn, the happiest married couples have discovered the beauty of “going to bed mad”… and finding that it is much better and or easier to resolve disagreements in the morning.
Shaunti points out the bible never says, “don’t get mad” or, “don’t go to bed mad.”
Ephesians 4:26 says: “Be angry, yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” It turns out, the Apostle Paul is actually quoting Psalm 4:4. Which says: “Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it and remain silent overnight.”
So, the key is not to sin in our anger; to never let anger get the best of us and cause us to hurt someone else.
What the happiest couples have found is that if you are so tired or upset that it makes a peaceful resolution unlikely, putting an unresolved issue on hold overnight is not a sin.
Sometimes the stress of work, family, and finances simply leave spouses too drained to work things out fairly.
And that, it turns out, is the key difference between the happiest marriages and those that are struggling: Highly happy couples sometimes go to bed with the issue unresolved, but if that issue is still a concern the next day, they deal with it.
By contrast, one of the reasons for the unhappiness of troubled couples is that they are far more likely to just ignore the issue the next day and hope it goes away.
So the next time you’re up late and having a disagreement with your spouse that seems to be going nowhere, don’t feel guilty about calling it a night. Chances are, you’ll see more clearly in the morning … and many times that major issue won’t seem so major anymore.