Go to bed angry: Unpopular but realistic marriage advice

Guest post by Jen Cywinski
By: smplstcCC BY 2.0

I didn't get any bad, syrupy marriage advice from people I know, but I saw plenty of it floating around in movies, in books, and online. It's sort of infectious. In the pre-wedding fog it can affect your sense of self and your confidence. I would shrug it off as nothing, but I sometimes felt panicked. What is this marriage thing I've gotten myself into? I must be mad, am I going mad? Am I depressed? I don't feel like I married the bestest, sweetest, most kindest man in the world, but I love him, is that enough? AGHHHHH!

We're working on year three and I'm fine now. I realize the cutesy advice, even though I dismissed it, had gotten in my brain because I never saw an article titled, “How To Deal With The Crappy Parts Of Marriage As Well As Unrealistic Expectations Of Society.” So, I came up with my own marriage advice that maybe doesn't make you say, “Awwww!”, but later on down the line, after the wedding high descends, might make you feel stronger.

Sometimes marriage sucks. It really does. You're individuals who have decided to always be together and at times it is really annoying that you are so different in some ways. Make sure you each have space to just be you and remember to hang out with other people. You are not an island.

“Never go to bed angry.” Bullshit. Two people who are tired and already upset are not going to make good decisions. They are going to be unreasonable, nonsensical, and cranky. Go to bed, wake up recharged, and figure it out like two well-rested grown ups.

You will change and your spouse will change. People change, it's sometimes scary, but you'll live and get used to it. Just because he/she decides to take up yoga/go vegan/become a cheese maker/become a power lifter doesn't mean they are some other person. They're evolving. Don't let it divide you — evolve together.

“Two becoming one.” No. You are not becoming one entity, you're not welded together, you're not one part of a ball and chain. You are two people who even on bad days choose to stay with that person, because even on the bad days you'd rather be there with them than with anyone else. You know that the bad will pass, you'll take it on as a team, and kick the bad's ass.

Be aware. In my previous point I say you'll get through the bad, but don't become so totally infatuated that you ignore your own well being. We all have bad days where we yell too much or get a little crazy, yes, but don't become victim to domestic abuse.

“Kiss your husband/wife everyday” except if they're sick with the flu or a nasty cold, my friend. There was a time when I thought, “but you HAVE to give me a kiss!” Nuh uh, keep those lips sealed unless it's to swallow zinc and vitamin C supplements. More fluids, chop chop.

Lastly, people are going to ask you, “How's being married?” or “How is married life?” for at least a year after the wedding. It's a nice question, but what does it even mean? I used to answer that it was like life before marriage, except now I live with this guy. My point is that my new answer, if I were asked, is that marriage is like making a better way to do something that's been done a million times before. We are Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, and Benny Franklin.

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Comments on Go to bed angry: Unpopular but realistic marriage advice

  1. I’m real big on going to bed angry. It’s amazing how many problems actually disappear when you’re not tired and irrationally cranky.

    (Some problems don’t disappear, obviously, but taking a step back and sleeping on it makes problems way easier to tackle, for me.)

    • Yes, fighting is like shaking *every* emotion to the surface along with mild annoyances, little irritations, that thing he/she does that is so cute but right now it’s driving you nuts, and the big meaty issues that started everything rolling. Going to bed angry lets the little things that aren’t a big deal settle down, and gives you a clear head to deal with the big meaty things the next day.

  2. This is a FANTASTIC post, and it comes at a perfect time for me. I’m getting married in May, and have been thinking a lot about the (mostly media-derived) impressions I have of marriage, and how those impressions fit with my partner’s and my relationship. This is a refreshing and reassuring perspective, and helps me feel like I’m not doin’ it wrong. Thanks!

  3. I’ve been married for 6 years now, and I totally agree with what you’ve said here. Marriage will be constant work. Sometimes you’re going to be angry, but I have one little bit to change.

    When we were trying to conceive, and had had some previous difficulties, and one day I was really really sick, but also ovulating. So my wonderful husband had sex anyway. BUT I don’t think we kissed. So. There’s that.

    Oh yeah, it resulted in our son. 🙂

    • I totally included that line in my vows! I am definitely one of those “hangry” types of people. (And yep – I do carry snacks in my purse when we leave the house.) 🙂

  4. When people ask me about married life I say “the same, only he’s harder to get rid of now.” Some people are horrified, I can only laugh.

  5. Yes, go to bed angry, especially if it’s a work night! I wish I’d heard this early in my marriage 30 years ago.

  6. This is a great little article. Especially about the “two becoming one” and the question of “how’s married life”.

    On the “two becoming one” bit…I had so many people almost freaking out FOR me. I didn’t see what the big deal was? You’re not becoming one because in order to become “ONE” you’d need some very skilled surgeons or mad scientists at the ceremony site. You cannot become one with the other person because you still have your own thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes, and underwear drawer. You become a TEAM and I wish more people would call it that.

    As for the question. What a stupid question. I hear it almost every day from co-workers, and every single time I’m with extended family memebers I don’t see constantly. My answer? “The same as non-married life. But now I have an extra ring on my finger and some legal documents to go along with it” And they never know how to respond to that. Usually I get, “Oh well…I have to ask” No you don’t!!!

    • I think some sensible Wedding/Engagement cards are in order, yes? “Married life? It’s like regular life, but with rings and more paper!”

  7. Perfectly timed post! I’m getting married this Saturday. We didn’t write our own vows, but if we had, I’d totally be adding these in there! Great advice!

  8. for me, at least, there is something in “never go to sleep angry”. Not in the sense of solving all the problems before going to sleep. Unless it is something very, very, very bad, even if we disagree, we decide together to “sleep on it”. We say together “ok, this sucks, but we love each other and prefer to postpone this decision”.
    I do not understand why people take “how is married life?” seriously. It is just small talk from somebody who doesn’t know you very well but tries to show him/herself interested. “Two become one” is just crap…

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