Editor's Note: This article was previously published on nurturingmarriage.org. It has been republished here, with permission.
It has happened to the best of us. After a long day at work, a quick bite to eat and no time with your spouse, one of you says something that sparks a bit of an argument. You look at the clock:
You have a meeting first thing in the morning. You are tired. You aren't up for a long, drawn-out disagreement that you know you can't win. So, what do you do?
Due to the late hour, some of the usual methods for conflict resolution might not work (e.g. going for a run, getting busy doing something else, talking through the issue). You find yourself with a very strong urge to grab your pillow, get a blanket out of the closet and end the argument by playing the "silent treatment card" and heading to the couch.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, you may want to try one of these suggestions. They work well, and we promise you'll sleep much better!
Share a little love
Being humble is tough. We get it. But as tough and uncomfortable as it is, it's a lot less tough and a lot more comfortable than spending a night on the couch, angry at your spouse. So swallow that pride and just say you are sorry — even if you feel it was the other person's fault. Just do it.
After a simple, heartfelt apology, kiss and then kiss some more. Share some love with each other. A little love goes a long way. Some people call it "make-up sex." Whatever you call it, it works! A little physical love works wonders on your disagreement. Just remember, once you have said "sorry," your not-so-happy conversation is over.
Don't try to talk things out any more at the moment. Just love each other.
Agree to sleep on it
While this may not sound as exciting as the first option, it's still a good alternative. Take a deep breath and just tell your spouse in a kind voice that you need to sleep on things. Gather your senses, tell him or her, "I love you even though we don't always agree," and then ask if you can continue the conversation in the daytime when you aren't tired.
Then go to sleep. Yes, go to sleep. Not on the couch. Not in another room. In your bed, right next to the spouse who is driving you crazy (whom you are still madly in love with). It's very likely that, after a good night's sleep, calmer heads will prevail and all will be well. Just don't wake up in the morning and make the mistake of acting like nothing happened. Be humble, say you're sorry, hug and kiss your spouse, and start a new day on the right side of the bed!
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.