For those of you who are married, I bet you’ve heard the advice “Don’t go to sleep angry” a million times. I am going on the record as saying that I think this particular piece of advice is really stupid.
Based on my own experience, Nateanite and I are more likely to fight when we are tired. Things that seem huge, like our marriage might end over this, seem small and insignificant after a night of decent sleep. Based on the peer-reviewed literature, sleep deprivation can have a seriously negative impact on our relationships.
I think this is why so many folx say that the years when your children are little are the most challenging. You are both chronically sleep deprived. Babies waking in the night because they’re hungry, getting teeth, or were startled and need to be soothed are common place. A side effect of toddlers’ improved cognitive ability are night terrors.
I have felt the effects of these in recent weeks as A has been cutting some new teeth. Nateanite will tell you, and I will grudgingly confirm, that I have been on edge recently. Several mornings ago, after a particularly challenging night, when he timidly suggested that I treat him with a little respect (not such a tall order for your best friend and love of your life, right?) I angrily said that it was asking “too effing* much.”
Take a deep breath and cue to the next day. Yes, I am tired. So is he. Trying to rise above this I decided to listen in as Nateanite joined me in our efforts to convince E that the cup we gave her to bring to bed had juice in it (it was really water). It was during this time that I developed a recipe for falling back in love during these challenging times.
**Disclaimer: Your relationship needs to be founded on mutual respect, but you’re just experiencing a hiccup. If there is no respect there, please find someone safe to talk to and give you the support you need and deserve.**
Falling in Love With Your Partner
- 1 effort to back up the other person
- 1 promise that Batman will protect you over night
- Multiple expressions of love (as many as you want!)
- Blowing kisses on your way out the door
- Wish sweet dreams to your child
Have this conversation with your child or listen to your partner have this conversation with your child as often as you need.
*Maybe this goes without saying, but I am censoring myself here. Not one of my proudest moments.