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Never Go To Bed Mad At The One You Love

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

On the Today Show this morning a remarkable segment aired.  It was remarkable not because it was good or enlightening, but because it wasn’t.  In fact, it was downright misleading and irresponsible based upon the research evidence, and we want to comment on it.

A psychologist and the managing editor of Good Housekeeping were on the Today Show to proclaim that the notion of “never go to bed mad at each other” was a myth.  Imagine, calling such a time-honored notion a myth.  Listening to them made our skin crawl and here’s why – credible research does not support what they said.

As many of our readers know, we have been researching successful marriages for over 25 years.  We have interviewed hundreds of successfully married couples representing some 15,000 years of marital wisdom.  We have learned a lot about what makes good marriages work.

Towards the end of our interview protocol we ask these wonderful couples if they could offer three pieces of advice that we could share with newlyweds.  And guess what, the number one piece of advice they have given, and it is has been consistent over the years, is “Never go to bed mad at each other!”

Remember, this advice comes from happily married couples.  The advice they give isn’t designed to shock the media with something unusual or out of the ordinary.  These are the words of couples with a proven track record.  Frankly, we got the impression when we watched the Today Show that the purpose of referring to “Never go to bed mad at each other” as a myth was to get a spot on a highly watched morning television show!  But the sad truth is, their message was a terrible message to send to newly married couples.  Our fear – they just might listen to the advice they heard on TV and that would be a big mistake in our judgment.

From time to time you hear so-called experts throw out information as if it were scientific fact.  People believe it as if it were gospel.  The problem is, much of what you hear has no scientific or research base.

The good news about the notion of “Never go to bed made at each other” – it is based on research from those who would know best – those who have been happily, blissfully, and successfully married for 30-60 years!  The lessons learned from 15,000 years of successful marriage speaks for itself.

Married couples do, from time to time, have disagreements.  They argue over big things and little things.  They argue over stuff that doesn’t matter and stuff that does.  But here is what we have learned from 25 years of research – successfully married couples rarely ever go to bed without resolving their differences on an issue, be it big or small.  Many report to us that they have stayed up all night trying to bring closure to an issue that has divided them.  They know that gaining resolution is far more important than getting a good night’s sleep.  And remember this, issues that are not attended to more often than not fester through the night and only appear worse in the morning. 

Do not be fooled by those who tell you that it is not important to resolve divisive issues before you go to bed.  They are simply misguided and the advice they give can be hurtful to your relationship.  Accept the advice of those who know – those whose marriages are happy and have stood the test of time.

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