The worst piece of wedding advice we received is simple: Never go to bed angry. Why is this so bad? If we're not going to go to bed angry, well, we just won't go to bed at all.
I believe this advice is given by people who are now divorced or by people who are really bad fighters. You know the kind — the couple who considers a discussion on who will do the dishes an actual argument or the people who never raise their voices and avoid confrontation at all costs. These people have never learned the skill of debate and they haven’t honed their fighting skills.
Skilled fighters know this is really bad advice. These are the couples who tend to raise their voices, who bring up past misdeeds and drag extended family into the discussion. They can attest to the misguided or malicious nature of this advice.
Long unpleasant nights
I was raised by a champion debater who later coached a champion debate team. I know how to argue. I can be stubborn and loud. I'm pretty quick with a sarcastic retort and sadly, I have a good memory about things I should probably forget. Mix that with my husband, who is just as skilled in all these areas, throw in the advice, "don't go to bed angry" and you have a recipe for a long and miserable night.
It didn't take too many knock-down, drag-out, all-night brawls for this couple to discover that this is just plain bad advice. No one wants to go to work the next day with tired, puffy eyes and a raging, sleep-deprived headache. And not many people can afford to call in sick anytime there's a marital disagreement? A better idea would be to go to bed angry, get a good night's sleep and then get up a little calmer, a little more rational and a little less stupid.
So what tip do I offer when the advice notebook is passed around or Aunt Susan's video camera is pointed in my face waiting for a piece of marital wisdom?
If you're fighting at bedtime, or anywhere close to it; say your prayers, go to bed, get a good night's sleep and face the disagreement with a calm head in the bright light of day.