Many people are happy to give advice of any kind, particularly when a young man and woman are engaged to be married. “Never go to bed mad” must be some of the most common words of wisdom given to a future bride and groom.
Perhaps this advice could be taken at ‘face value’ sometimes. If you have a little disagreement with your spouse or a misunderstanding, it’s great to talk through it and work it out before retiring for the night. If you do, you might even get a little romance or intimacy rather than going to bed with negative feelings towards your sweetheart.
However, imagine your spouse having a day of extra stress that builds up until finally they say or do something towards you that offends or hurts you in some way. Now, you are a little more than upset, and depending on your natural reactions, you might run and sulk or say something back to your spouse that you now regret.
When we get into extreme emotions, our physical brain is literally loaded up with chemicals that take us from our frontal lobe, where our imagination, creativity and the ability to make decisions based on our values resides. With intense feelings, we slip into our middle brain, or animal brain and make decisions – well, like an animal. When we are thinking from our middle brain we react to others rather than act in a way we would when we are calm and not literally ‘stoned’ from the negative chemicals now whirling in our brain.
If we interact with others while in this frame of mind, quick as lightning, we may make a tense situation even worse. When you are in emotional overwhelm is not really a good time to have a conversation with your spouse, or anyone else for that matter.
If you are good at managing your emotions and World War III breaks out right before bedtime, you might be able to calm down and get your body chemicals neutralized in time to give your spouse a sweet kiss goodnight, after you say, “I’m sorry,” of course.
But if you need time to get those emotions back to some peace and tranquility, you might want to give yourself some time or even space to regain control of your senses. That may mean going to bed with some feelings of ‘mad’ and deal with it in the morning. Sleep actually does wonders for comforting and relaxing some stressed spouses!