Friday, February 22, 2013

Don't Go to Bed Angry

My wife and I went to bed at 1 am the other night. There is nothing particularly odd about this, but we hadn't said anything to each other since about midnight. The reasons were your everyday marital stresses- we were a bit grumpy, we said rude things, and we both chose to take offense. I say "chose" because had the same words been spoken earlier or when even only one of us was in a better mood, we would have easily avoided giving each other the silent treatment.

Anyway, that night, we went to bed an turned out the light without saying goodnight, I love you, or kissing goodnight. We didn't even face each other. I even laid on the side that I cannot fall asleep on, and which happened that day to be the side that irritated the painfully pinched nerve in my neck. I did that because I was mad, and for once I was going to make my wife apologize first. A story my mom told me right before I got married came to mind right about the time my neck really started hurting. She and my dad had been married for a short time when they had an argument. It followed about the same pattern as my own just had. That night, my dad went right to sleep, but my mom could not get there even though she was exhausted. She tossed and turned for hours until she finally woke my dad up and apologized to him. She then slipped off quite easily. Well, I didn't much of this, and convinced myself that this wouldn't happen to me. However, anyone that knows my mom and I, can attest that most of my personality genes came from her. After tossing an turning until about 2:30, I quietly asked my wife if she was awake. No answer. I asked again, a little more intently this time. No answer. My pride still forbade me from waking her, so I concentrated on going to sleep. The problem with concentrating on anything when trying to go to sleep, is that you cannot go to sleep. After a time, though, I managed to slip off into a fitful sleep where my dreams left me panting and waking up in a sweat. Needless to say I got no actual rest. It was at this point, at about 4:30 that my pride had finally been kicked hard enough that it would let me do what I so desperately needed to do. I woke up my wife, apologized and asked for her forgiveness. She promptly and frankly forgave me, and immediately returned the apology, which I immediately accepted and forgave. I fell asleep almost instantly into a beautiful dreamless sleep. I learned once that the human sleep cycle ought to occur twice in an 8 hour period for a person to feel totally rested. I got through maybe one. So I was still exhausted the next day. A hard price to pay when my job involves staring at a computer screen and fixing little details. However, I learned much from this exercise. Aside from the well known, "don't go to bed mad" lesson, I learned why, and honestly, it has little to so with sleep. It has everything to do with your pride, and where it belongs in your marriage. That is, it doesn't belong there at all. Also, being happy or at least content does wonders for your mental and physical health, and so allowing little things to fester and become huge things is actually bad for your health.