5 Consequences of Going to Bed Angry

going to be angry

Never go to bed angry. That’s the best marriage tip that a friend about to marry received from his elderly grandfather. His grandparents had survived some rocky years in their marriage to see it blossom into a strong love that had lasted nearly 50 years.

I see the wisdom in his grandfather’s advice. If I’ve learned anything in 25 years of marriage to Susan, it’s that how couples handle conflict in marriage greatly affects the overall health and happiness of that marriage. [Tweet This]

But I also recognize how difficult it is to handle conflict well, especially when it’s late at night after an exhausting day. There have been a number of times in our marriage where Susan and I have not navigated through our late night conflict in a good way. And we have both gone to bed angry. When that happens, she’s able to fall asleep quickly, while it takes me a long time to fall asleep when I’m stirred up. But both of us feel the effects of the unresolved anger the next day.

Going to bed angry not only impacts the next day, it causes cumulative and harmful effects. Here are some of the negative consequences of going to bed still angry.

  1. Bricks are added to wall that divides you as a couple.
    And as the wall gets higher, the division gets wider. And as the division gets wider, you start by arguing more and speaking to one another less, then one of you moves temporarily onto the couch to sleep, then permanently into another bedroom and then…you get the picture. Unresolved conflict night after night creates a relational wall that becomes increasingly tough to penetrate. The continual cycle of ending your day angry can also create a feeling of hopelessness in your relationship.
  2. It’s harder to have a fresh start the next day.
    A good night’s sleep can create a sense of new hope the next morning. But going to bed angry with your spouse defeats that hope. Every marriage needs to feel the triumph of overcoming conflict and starting fresh from time to time. But when the next day starts with the hard feelings of the night before, the fresh start is delayed, and sometimes lost completely.
  3. Less sleep hurts your health
    Anger not only harms you emotionally, but also physically. Many studies have shown that quality of sleep affects overall health. And, when you go to bed angry, a good night’s sleep is usually compromised.
  4. Unresolved conflict impedes sexual intimacy, short-term and long-term.
    Going to bed angry not only kills the mood, but repeatedly going to bed angry creates an unhealthy pattern of fewer opportunities for sexual intimacy. On the other hand, there are times when couples who work through their disagreements before bed find themselves suddenly open to intimacy.
  5. It sends the message to your spouse that you value “winning” the argument more than preserving your relationship.
    The message you send to your spouse when you have a pattern of going to bed angry is that your marriage and your spouse’s well-being are less important to you than winning in conflict. That may not be what you intend to communicate, but that’s often the takeaway. How you handle end of day conflicts either builds up or tears down your marriage

Having shared the above thoughts, I’m not suggesting that you can always resolve everything before bedtime. But that does not mean that you have to go to bed angry. You can just agree on one thing with your spouse…that you will talk about it and work it out tomorrow, when your fresh and ready for a new day.

How do you and your spouse avoid going to bed angry? Please share your thoughts in a comment.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • DeeDee

    And what are you supposed to do when the argument starts late at night and you both have to get up in the morning or when the agreement becomes physical??

  • Dawn Stroscheim

    I both agree and disagree. Both of us are “need space to calm down and regroup” types. I don’t feel like we can diplomatically resolve an issue of we are both angry. However that time to calm down and regroup is used for just that. Not stewing or picking a part the topic. I never want to go to bed angry. I’m the one who doesn’t go right to sleep. But some times that’s what needs to happen so that we don’t day things we will regret because we are tired or powering through the argument without that time out to come to together with a willing and reasonable heart.

  • Steve

    Dawn & Dee Dee have a point I would like to respond to.
    It’s not about being in agreement, it’s about anger and going to bed with those feelings. My suggestion is that both spouses take some time on their next date night and discuss this issue of going to bed angry and thy to agree that when these situations occur each one or both spouses turn their thoughts and reflect on how much one or each loved each other when they first got married. Then make a covenant with each other when they find themselves in a situation where they are angry that the spouse or if both spouses are angry turn thoughts to the love you had for each other when you were first married. Maybe even mention one or two wonderful memories that you had back then, before or after marriage AND THEN agree to disagree and follow up on the disagreement the next day or sometime after that. Many times what one or both spouses will find in that time of loving reflection is the thing that caused the anger was not worth the energy after all. Still talk about it “later” so that it will help future situations like this one.

  • Ritz

    I agree! The flesh will always be willing to go to bed angry but we need to be in tune with the Spirit in order to resolve things/issues with our loved ones. Would you like God to be angry at you at bedtime (or anytime for that matter?)? I don’t think so.
    We usually talk about things and I pray to be open to his feelings (I put myself in his shoes) so that I may be able to understand him. I also ask him to put himself in my shoes. I lovingly point those things that was said or done that hurt by adding a scenario in which he may be hurt if the same thing was done to him. Lastly, I ask him to make a list (not that same evening, of course) of those things about me that hurt him (I do the same) and we lovingly talk about them and agree to try and work on ourselves to make things better. Hope this helps. It has helped us. God bless!

  • Thank you all for sharing!

  • Dana Marie

    Thank you for your honesty and capacity to share, Mark. What graces you give us, and model for us. Don’t know if you have seen/heard some of Pope Francis’ message on marriage, so here is one of my favorite clips of his homilies. He allows us to be human while still holding us accountable to God.


  • Errol

    Just say sorry and hold hands and pray,then kiss and say good night….makes the both of you sleep better…if it happens try it!!!!!!

  • Married 13 years

    I beg to differ. Go to bed angry. Any anger management therapist will tell you that. Then wake up with a new perspective and not as angry.

  • cbsnyder1

    That only works if you do what the article said at the end: “…agree on one thing with your spouse…that you will talk about it and work it out tomorrow, when your fresh and ready for a new day.” The idea the article is making is to not just stomp off to bed ticked off without saying anything to each other. Acknowledge the anger and agree to deal with it tomorrow, if it can’t be dealt with before bed.

  • cbsnyder1

    Marriage advice from a person who has never been married and vowed a life of celibacy? I don’t think so… Just like I don’t take business advice from non-business people, or work advice from unemployed, I don’t take advice on marriage from people with no marital experience and/or multiple failed marriages.

  • Married still

    If a man can’t use sleep deprivation plus character assassination and name calling to keep his wife up until 3am how will he get his way? Of course he’s not going to agree. Using sleep deprivation as a weapon is the entire point of articles like this.

    On the contrary it only works when the wife will take the kids and go sleep in a parking lot a few times to prove he can’t get away with it.

    You don’t think the average man is going to go sleep on the couch, stay elsewhere for the night, or leave his wife alone if she sleeps in the spare room on the couch so you? He’ll just follow her and keep argueing.

    Again it’s most effective when the children aren’t sleeping through the night yet and are still nursing. Yes I think this is normal in most but not all marriages

  • Married still

    The anger is never worth the energy. Saying no to sex isn’t worth the energy either. Talking about it later is forbidden because that’s just bring up old arguements. And besides it just leads to more sleep deprivation.

    Most counselors, particularly Biblical ones, recommend no bringing up past arguemens and not going to bed angry. So if the wife (and it’s usually the wife especially when pregnant, I’ll, or grieving) can’t fight every single battle every single night for 6+ hours then forget it, she can’t claim rights to be upset about the thing later going forward in the future.

  • Jemmie Reynolds

    My wife obsesses about everything. Most of the time I look past this. We both have our quirks. But last night we were both under the gun to finish seminary work before midnight. A bill came in the mail and she wanted to discuss it. I asked if we could table it until after we finished our projects but she simply couldn’t do it. She can handle doing work AND dealing talking about the bill. I explained that I couldn’t do it. Yet, she persisted, constantly talking to me about it while we worked. I did my best to stay calm, but eventually I told her she was driving me crazy. She stormed out. I’m the bad guy. It took me a good 20 minutes to get back on task. We went to bed angry. I woke up while still dark outside, still angry. I don’t know how to even begin getting past this. This is a typical problem. She obsesses until I can’t take it anymore. I blow up. We go silent. Rinse repeat… I care for her, love her. But I’m so tired of this I don’t know how to proceed.

  • Michael

    That’s not right to do either and u know it. Taking the kids and running. How does that solve things?

  • Michael

    Thanks for the tips and advice. God bless you.

  • Michael

    That’s the funniest thing bc I’m a man and my lady gets made when I bring up past stuff. It has to be a resolution to the conflict. A conclusion if u will.