Monday, March 19, 2012

Don't Go To Bed Angry

One thing my wife has taught me is the necessity to always settle an argument before you go to bed at night. When we live closely with another person and share everything we have as one, there will undoubtably come up arguments in which one person becomes incensed and angry. We found that if we committed ourselves to resolving this difference before we go to bed at night, even if it means staying up latter than normal, our next day begins in harmony and our differences do not accumulate.

Robert Taibbi, L.C.S.W. published an article on this in Psychology Today. He wrote:
The problem is our brains. When we get angry the reasonable parts of our brains—the prefrontal lobes in the front—shut down and the all the action moves the back where our reptilian brain takes over. We get the fight or flight response, we get tunnel vision. We want to make our point and get the other guy, damn it, to understand what we're saying.
And this can take a while depending on how worked up everyone gets. For men it's even harder—it can take them physiologically three times longer to cool than women....Calm yourself down, by taking a walk or by sitting in the bathroom and doing some deep breathing for awhile. When you're back into your prefrontal lobes, your blood pressure is down, and the tunnel vision has expanded, then sincerely try and solve the problem. The means listening and talking it through, not the quick I'm sorry, pseudo-hug in the kitchen, and sweeping it all under the rug.
For Orthodox Christians we can call on Jesus to help us in this situation. This is where the Jesus Prayer helps us in a very practical way. If we have practiced it regularly during our daily prayers, it will become a prayer that is always with us and one we will immediately grab whenever we face difficulty. It can become like an automatic response in times of stress. When we dare able to pray in the midst of a disagreement, our minds are brought into contact with God and we are quieted. If we become very angry we can take a time out and take a short walk saying, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner in cadence with our steps, a prayer walk. Once our mind has settled, then we can go back to resolve the issue at hand.

It is best if we can arrange for our daily prayers to be said together. In this way we will always work to reconcile ourselves before we enter into our shared daily prayer times.

Jesus tells us the following:

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:22-24 )
St. Paul advises: "Do not let the sun set on your anger, lest the devil gain a foot hold."(Eph 4:27)
More on Orthodox Prayer



  1. Nicely written, alas, if one party simply refuses to talk, then what to do? Happened to me a lot!


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