During our premarital counselling sessions, every time we heard about communication in marriage, the popular advice and scripture were “Never go to bed angry,” or “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”
Did you get that advice too?
I wondered every time a pastor mentioned it. We were madly in love. How could we ever go to bed angry? We probably would have sex every night, so where’s the time to stay angry? Those were the thoughts going through my head as we sat in front of the Anglican bishop taking us through the last pre-marital counselling lesson.
Well, in our fifteen years of being married to each other, have I been angry? Yes.
Have I gone to bed angry at least once? Yes.
Have I ever turned my back in bed making sure our bodies don’t touch each other? Yes.
Have I said, “I don’t feel like having sex tonight?” Yes.
What have I learnt: Getting angry is human, it shows you have feelings. What you do before you get angry, when you’re angry and how long you stay angry is what’s crucial. It’s alright to have a different opinion about something – don’t hide it for the sake of not having an argument.
Tiptoeing around the house because you don’t want to say how you really feel will not solve that emotional weight. Sulking and refusing to talk to your spouse or eat her food will only widen the gap between you.
Yes, we’ve been brought up to take it to the Lord in prayer, and, yes, we should take everything to the Lord in prayer, but you also need to bring it to the surface and have a discussion around it.
With the right EQ and wisdom, you can put forward your case and express how you really feel without turning it into hot flashes of negative emotions and hurtful words you can’t take back.
Wife, are you holding back how you really feel under the pretence of being submissive or avoiding conflict? Husband, would you rather discuss it with your mom, your buddies, or that female partner in the office rather than your wife in order to avoid a compromise?
A happy marriage is not devoid of conflict/misunderstanding – you can disagree to agree sometimes and make sacrifices or compromise to continue to mutually support one another.
So, what am I saying?
It’s ok to be upset sometimes. When you are, let your spouse know. Don’t brood over it for days, silent for days, treating your spouse like a stranger. Sort it out the best way you can, and quickly. Life is too short to spend it sulking around the house glued to the TV.
It’s ok to sleep over an issue without resolving it right away. There are times I want to sleep over an issue maybe because I’m physically or emotionally exhausted for the day and need more time to think; maybe I realise it’s turning into an argument and neither of us is listening to the other and a little breathing space will do. Things always look clearer in the morning so don’t stay hung up on it. Let love cover a multitude of sins.
Feeling angry or moody for days unending, refusing to eat together, avoiding praying together, or refusing to cuddle together are all a waste of precious time you could be spending supporting and comforting one another.
Most importantly, touch daily.
We were created to touch and be touched.
Have you ever visited someone who is bereaved and all you did was give a hug but that hug spoke volumes? Make it a habit to touch each other any opportunity you get. A pat. A kiss. A hug. Hold hands.
I’ve noticed that when we had an argument, one of the first things we stop doing is touching one another or keeping eye contact. What we did to get through those first two years of marriage where we were still getting used to each other was to agree that whatever happened during the day, at bedtime, we would sleep with our toes touching/locked together. That was our sign that we are always in agreement.
A personal touch makes you vulnerable.
You can’t be angry and touch someone else genuinely. A personal touch speaks love.
So one of the ways to get back into harmony is to resume that touch. Don’t stay at arm’s length like roommates. Romance and passion must be an everyday affair in your home. Men, romance your wives. Ladies, romance your husbands. Make an effort, sir. Make an effort, ma.
Never grow too old to spice things up. They build confidence in your self and in your relationships.
Dr. Ed Wheat once defined touch as:
- Tender: the weight of your touch
- Often: the frequency of your touch
- United: the reciprocal nature of your touch
- Considerate: the thoughtfulness behind your touch
- Head-to-Toe: the destination of your touch.
Now let’s have some pillow talk:
How would you rate your touch against these five things? How strong and how frequent is your touch? I know you love sex but I’m not talking about only that type of touch right now. How considerate is your touch on a day when your spouse has had a hectic day? Do you know the joy-button of your spouse that no matter how sad or angry he/she is, you know where to touch to make it all better?
What part of your partner’s body is most pleasurable?
What’s your experience and what’s your key takeaway today?
If you want to hear juicy stories of how we started and critical lessons I’ve learnt along the way, I’d love to hang out with you. Every Thursday, I’ll be serving you dishes from the Love Cafe, lessons to help you build an unstoppable marriage.