just go to bed angry

Craig and I locked hands during the ceremony and were touched to see Brett and Collin serve as ushers, and Brett walk Craig’s sister, the mother of the bride, down the aisle to her seat in front.

Marina soaked in every second and loved seeing the bride appear with her adoring dad by her side.  The father of the bride was an attendant at our wedding, twenty-six short years ago.

Before the couple said their vows, it was emotional to hear one of  Craig’s sisters share sweet words of encouragement, as it was listening to the groom’s aunt speak about her love for her nephew and his new bride.  There were many stories and words of wisdom imparted during the ceremony, with glasses raised at dinner, and throughout the night.

I’m sure many guests reflected on their own marriage or relationships, as we did.  If I could go back in time, here’s a few things I wish I would’ve known in our early days.

It’s okay to go to bed angry: Often newlyweds are told, “never go to bed angry,” but I would say, do the opposite!  If it’s late at night and you’re angry with each other and can’t come to a loving resolution … by all means, go to bed.  Better to roll away from each other to the far corners of the bed and fall into a fitful sleep, or even sleep in separate rooms for a night, then to say mean and ugly things to each other that can’t be taken back.

We’ve learned this the hard way on an occasion or two and I can attest to the fact, that after a good nap or a night’s sleep, our disagreements have faded in intensity compared to what they were beforehand. Sometimes, after sleeping, we completely forgot what we were so mad about, or have even laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. We’re more apt to discuss important topics cooperatively, and come to resolutions quicker when we’re rested.  I’ve found that most foul moods and funks can be abated by sleep.  (When it comes to one son in particular, a bad mood can usually be cured by carefully pushing a burrito in his direction.)

Keep your sense of humor above all else: Laughter has a way of smoothing out disagreements and feels a whole lot better than needing to be right!  We’ve had moments over the years of trying to prove that our way of seeing things was the only and right way.  But just as people are constantly changing and evolving, so are relationships and I’m thankful that Craig and I are at a place where we see the value of laughing together and trying hard to see one another’s point of view.  We can lecture, pout, whine, cry, yell and manipulate OR we can find reasons to laugh at the human condition and the fact that we all fall far short of perfection. Obviously not all problems can be laughed off, but a well rested mind and body go a long way in helping us discern what is worth pursuing and what isn’t.

Most importantly, NEVER EVER leave God out of the equation:  In every and all decisions, situations, moments, problems, and joys – consult God and acknowledge His sovereign leadership.  He’s always there whether we recognize his presence or not. He created us and brought us into the relationships we’re in for a specific purpose. He’s the one we should go to first and foremost – not our friends, parents or brothers and sisters. Instead, in conflict (and out) Craig and I have learned to make time for quiet moments, to grab hands and to pray.  The strongest and most joyous marriages I’ve witnessed are the ones in which the husband and wife keep Jesus in the center of everything they do.

I try to imagine a world in which every child was raised in a family that was led by parents who put God first and cherished and loved one another selflessly. Where those parents asked God each and every day to give them wisdom, to allow them to learn from their mistakes and to be given hope and joy for their successes, and to do a little bit better that very day than they did the day before.

I want that very much for my kids and grandkids and my best guess is that you do too.

So, if need be … go ahead and go to bed angry.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Lamentations 3:22-23  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

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