Deciding if the ability to not go to bed angry, is a myth or if, in fact it is possible, comes down to a number of factors. One must decide how they define the idea of ‘going to bed angry,’ to begin with. Once the couple has established this, the follow through is, perhaps the greatest hurdle to overcome. It is an easy thing to say, but certainly difficult to do. This difficulty is likely the source of the common belief that the saying, “Don’t go to bed angry at one another,” is simply a myth, that has no place in a real relationship and is unsustainable.
Angry is defined as “Feeling or showing anger; incensed or enraged.” or in similar terms in most dictionaries. The first portion is circular, but the latter two are more useful. These words are personal and direct nature. If one is angry at the other, there are direct and sharp feelings pointed at their partner.
A Different Feeling
There is another word that is important here. That word is upset, which is defined as, “To trouble mentally or emotionally; disturb the poise of, ” or by similar terms in most dictionaries. This word, while possible to direct this emotional state at a partner, the feeling does not have to be quite so specific.
Putting It Together
Don’t go to bed angry, but you can, go to bed upset. When you are angry, you are very pointed at the other person with your emotional state. If both partners are willing to take the time to understand the other, it is possible to soften the anger and instead bring it into a more calm state. The situation still troubles each of the partners in some way, but it is more about what caused the situation and less about simply being enraged at one another.
This sort of thing is not a simple matter. It takes a level of honesty with one another and a willingness to put the health of the relationship as the top priority of the relationship. It may mean hours of talking through something that has upset one partner and potentially missing sleep until it can be resolved. Not everyone has this level of resolution to put the relationship above all else. It also only works when both partners are in agreement that it is to be a priority.
Fact or not, if the road is so steep, why would anyone bother? Most people do not, which is why it is seen so often as a myth. The real world is one where a person needs to go to bed rather than sit up for hours, if someone is going to get to work without being dead on their feet. There isn’t always time to sit and talk without giving up things that one person or the other sees as important. Is this wrong? No, but it is a matter of which priorities the couple decides to set.
A relationship can work just fine without trying to avoid going to bed angry. If it is of interest to a couple, the benefits are clear. While both partners get less sleep while trying to work through matters, what sleep there is to be had may be better. The issues are still there, but understanding one another and being able to know that both parties in the couple wish to work through things means that at least some of the tension is let go of.
Go to bed upset, but not angry. Both partners will find that talking through things rather than letting anger rule them will generally strengthen their relationship. Understanding a situation may not remove the emotions around it, but they do allow one to at least redirect that anger away from their partner. While it does cost effort, the effort is repaid in harmony.
If a person defines angry to include being upset, then not going to bed angry is a myth. If however, the anger directed at one’s partner is considered to be different from being upset about a situation, then it is a fact. It isn’t an easy fact to execute, but the rewards are well worth it if both members of the couple are on board.