I knew better. Don't go to bed mad. But that's exactly what I did. Though the same blankets covered both of us, I stubbornly clung to my side of the mattress.
Eight hours of restless slumber didn't change things between us. In fact, with the rising of the sun came more details of what had angered me in the first place. I didn't just react. I exploded. Words were spoken in frustration. We both held our positions. And the argument escaladed.
In the end, I got my way. I won the battle. But the truth is, I lost something in the process. The expression on his face revealed the injury my stinging words had caused. And I hurt too.
An apology was a good place to begin. But the silence that carried into the following day was a powerful reminder. Our words have lasting impact. "I'm sorry" is important, but it doesn't work like a delete button. When feelings get hurt, it takes time for wounds to heal.
Don't go to bed mad. Don't speak in anger. Choose words wisely. Remember that words spoken in heated emotion only make matters worse. Twenty-seven years of marriage, and I'm still learning. Kindness trumps winning an argument. Every time.
"Don't go to be angry...Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say...Don't make God's Spirit sad...Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ."
~From Ephesians 4, CEV
"Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal."
Copyright 2013 by Julie Cowell. All rights reserved.