Go to any fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration and you’re almost guaranteed to hear the following advice from the couple at its center:
Never go to bed mad at each other.
As a younger man I always thought this was such a weak suggestion. Through repetition it felt unimaginative. Clearly these elderly folks had given up. They had moved beyond wisdom to aged minds.
Of course I was wrong.
Fourteen years of marriage, and life, later I realize that “never go to bed mad at each other” is a mantra that makes your entire life run smoother. “Never go to bed mad at each other” begets “never go to bed angry” begets “never let your ends ruin your beginnings.”
This past week I found myself in an argument with a colleague and a friend. It bubbled up rapidly from nothing to misunderstanding. It clouded my day. I’m sure it clouded his day as well. It was important to me not to let this cloudy day fog our tomorrow. There was no choice but to give the next day a full shot at success.
I wrote a message to my friend. I apologized. I explained my perspective. He explained his perspective. Now we are considering how we can avoid such useless conflicts in the future. Less than one day later the fog moved on revealing a pretty damn sunny sky. Wisps of cotton clouds continue floating by providing character to the day, but not conflict. No day is perfect. It doesn’t hurt to try to get close.
“Never go to bed mad at each other” is great advice for a couple. Given time the festering disagreement will only become harder to excise. Couples of any experience should heed this advice.
I’ve come to discover that this advice applies to all of my relationships. Even further, it applies to all of my experiences. The end of my day should find me content; recognizing my daily successes and failures. The end of a relationship should find me thankful for the positives. The end of all my experiences should serve as a catalyst for successful next beginnings.