Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
The marriage 101 rule doled out to newlyweds as an answer to all marital strife. If we kiss and make up, before the clock chimes, we will live the fairytale and happy ever after will reign.
And I used to fling this at you as I followed your retreat, barraging you with nothing close to resolution. And you would go quiet, your face set and it would make my blood rush into my face hot and blistering. And your voice would be steady as mine climbed and grew, a ferocious beast, my tongue looking for a weak spot to stab.
I didn’t know contemplation or cooling off. I thought my words would make a path to connect us but in the many words, sin was always present. And my temper raged.
I used my anger without thought, throwing it around with weight and force. Bulldozing anything in my path.
Communicate, I would taunt.
How will we ever resolve this if we don’t talk it out?
But I really meant surrender.
Because I live with words strung through my head, and you live in quieter spaces, and my thoughts never slow and when I release them in a torrent, I overwhelm you. You could never win.
And now I know this. The sun sometimes has to sink low and rise again for the calm to set in. For the cooler heads to meet and for the mounting tension to dissipate.
Sometimes the needed thing is a time out with each of us retreating to our corners until I can face you with love. With words soaked through with grace.
The expectation of working it all out so we can slumber without anger pushed me further into the fray.
I used those scriptures to pick a fight. To incite instead of unite.
But now I know that when we take the time and even the distance, if only for a night, the anger dissipates like a three-day old balloon, all the air sucked out and the tensions once high and stretched so tight,on the verge of bursting, are now emptier, flatter, and within reach.
A night when I feel your void. The absence of your warm feet to my cold ones, the feel of your arm slung around my hip and your body curved to mine. That distance between us makes me long for a brighter morning.
It’s only taken me 14 years to learn to fight well and good and fair. Thanks for showing me how.
Do you take time outs? Do you find that trying to resolve issues makes you angrier or do you always make up completely before going to bed? Do you allow your kids to have a cooling off period when they are fighting? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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